Needs of care residents 'poorly' met
Published on 11 October 2013 03:00 PM
Older people in care homes are receiving treatment that isn't up to scratch, it is claimed.
Around 400,000 individuals aged over 65 live in care homes across the UK, but the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) says their health needs are being 'poorly' met.
Issuing new guidance for healthcare commissioners, the association of medical professionals wants to see more done to meet the needs of this 'frail and vulnerable' group of people.
It said there is 'no reason' why older care home residents should be missing out on the best care available.
The guidance suggests that well-tailored services can make a significant difference to the treatment that older people receive.
'Those responsible for planning what health services are needed locally must take notice of this evidence and ensure that they are not ignoring the needs and rights of this frail and vulnerable patient group,' said BGS spokesman Professor Finbarr Martin.
'Commissioners and health service planners must involve representatives from the care home sector early on when considering what services need to be considered for older residents. This is more likely to ensure that services are designed appropriately and are sustainable.'
Services should be 'shaped to suit patients'
The BGS is calling on the NHS to do its bit in supporting care home staff to ensure that older residents have a better quality of life.
It suggests that services should be 'shaped to suit patients' and they should have 'reliable' access to familiar health professionals.
Other recommendations include regular scheduled visits to the home from a GP or specialist nurse and advanced planning for health emergencies.
In response to the guidance, a Department of Health spokeswoman said a number of plans were in the pipeline to improve care for older people in homes.
She revealed that the department is set to ask the NHS to make a GP accountable for their care in the community, just as there is a consultant responsible for them in hospital.
In addition, £3.8 billion is to be invested in improving integration between health and care services, strengthening the role of primary care so people can be treated closer to home without the need to go to hospital.
Copyright Press Association 2013