Sunday, 11 March 2012

Britain is no country for old men in general and sick ones in private care homes in particular

An article in 'The Gaurdian' on Wednesday was entitled :

National Health Service forgetting needs of care home residents, warns review

There are 376,250 old people living in 10,331 care homes in England and life, for most of them, is bleak. Many are frail and vulnerable, with more health needs than most of the population, around 40% have dementia and many are on cocktails of medication with an average care home lifespan of one to two years.

Question : So who in Government is watching out for them in the profit-making private sector ?
Answer : Apparently no one.

Professor Finbarr Martin, President of the British Geriatics Society and co-author of the report, 'Quest for Quality' has said :

"The National Health Service disengaged from care homes when they became private sector nursing homes, except for the statutory responsibility to provide doctors.
Care home residents have potentially become disenfranchised from a lot of community health services they would expect to get if they were in their own homes. There is an assumption that they are taken care of.
The NHS, if it is about patient-centred care and equitable access, has to look at care home residents and meet their needs."

The report revealed, that :

* old people need a whole range of medical services, including :
mental health teams
occupational therapy,
tissue viability (dealing with wounds, pressure sores and ulcers).

Question : Do they get them and if so, with what speed ?
Answer : Only 43% of Primary Care Trusts made all of these available to care home residents and it could take as long as 18 weeks to be seen which could lead to a deterioration in health.

Pofessor Matin said : "It is unacceptable to leave people waiting for over three months to receive treatment that could significantly improve their quality of life, especially when you consider that the average life expectancy of an older person entering a care home is between one and two years."

The British Geriatics Society said :

"The fault in many cases is not with care homes but with those responsible for ensuring that the NHS plays its part in ensuring that healthcare needs of residents are met."

What a sad country Britain has become .

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