One-to-one care mooted for older patients
Published on 13 May 2013 11:30 AM
Older patients could be allocated their own personal NHS care worker as part of wide-ranging changes to later-life care being considered by ministers.
The move would mean older people could receive one-to-one care from a single 'named individual', The Independent reported.
The individual would oversee everything from arranging physiotherapy appointments to home help and medical care, coordinating patients' moves between hospitals, homes and GP practices.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is set to announce a full review of later life care that will bring forward recommendations in the autumn, with legislation planned for 2014.
The review could lead to significant changes in the health service, including a shake-up of out-of-hours care and the scaling back payment by results - the process whereby hospitals or GP practices get paid for carrying out specific tasks.
A radical overhaul of older patient care is needed if the NHS is to remain financially viable in the future, Mr Hunt said.
'The delight of an ageing population is we all live so much longer, but it does mean that we have to cope with years of ill health at the end of our lives that perhaps we didn't have to cope with before,' the Health Secretary added.
Easing the pressure on A&E
Mr Hunt said appointing an individually named 'case manager' could help ease the long-standing pressure on accident and emergency departments and ensure the NHS can continue to give older people the highest quality care.
Up to 40% of older people being cared for in hospitals could be treated elsewhere, senior NHS officials have said
However, large numbers of hospitals struggle to discharge older patients because of inadequate social care provision in their area.
Delays in discharging older patients contribute to the current problems in accident and emergency departments, health officials said.
However, patients caught up in the 'A&E crisis' would take little comfort from the plans, Labour shadow ministers warned.
Copyright Press Association 2013