Tag Archives: funding cuts

Dignity in care?

We recently held an event for Older People’s Forums in London to try to equip them to press for dignity in their local NHS and social care services http://www.ageuk.org.uk/london/news–campaigns/dignity-in-the-capital/ What really struck me during the day was that everyone agrees what the problems are, but they still keep on happening. Some of the ones which came up in workshop discussions were:

Hospitals: rushed discharges with no advance notice or care plan, sometimes at weekends or even at night; lack of pain relief;lack of basic skills or basic communication by staff; decisions about older patients being made without consulting them.

It’s clear that key NHS staff recognise all the problems and want to drive positive change, but how to make that happen at ward level?

Care homes: lack of skills or training in working with people with dementia or who can’t express themselves; lack of activity and stimulation; staff either not treating people as individuals or not having time to.

Care at home: too many different carers in one day; the gender of carers specified being different to that delivered; carers’ times being too rigid – because travel is never factored in; carers have bad attitudes and practices – some don’t even give older people water or know how to change the sheets on a bed; carers don’t turn up.

I know that more money doesn’t automatically mean more compassion. But some of these are the same issues that have been pointed out over and over again in relation to social care funding and spending cuts. Might there be a more direct link between funding and quality of service in social care than in hospitals?

We were aiming to focus on constructive solutions, and the 90 older people participating came up with a lot of ideas. We have provided a written toolkit intended to help people challenge undignified treatment (which is available to download on the link above) and we plan to keep following this up with people who were at the event and to keep raising the issues!

Don’t cut care in London!

It’s time to say “No” to any more cuts to older people’s social care services. Local authorities need to make spending cuts from somewhere, but maintaining frontline older people’s services needs to be a priority in 2012-13. There is no slack in the system, many older people already get pooor quality care services and any further cuts could harm vulnerable older people.

That’s what Age UK London and Greater London Forum for Older People have found anyway. We have just launched our research report, ‘Don’t cut care in London’, looking at the impact of the cuts so far and the possible impact in the future. You can download our report from www.ageuk.org.uk/london

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The cold kills

According to the BBC News, winter weather alerts aimed at helping vulnerable people during cold snaps are to be introduced in England:

“Under the new arrangements, the Met will issue alerts depending on the severity of the conditions. In total, there will be four alerts, each of which will ask local agencies, including NHS trusts and councils, to carry out certain duties. For example, at level three, which would have been reached last winter, health and social care staff should consider daily visits to the most vulnerable.”

Can someone tell me please, where the people and money are going to come from for daily visits to the most vulnerable?

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It’s all about cuts…

Amongst all the news and doom of the cuts agenda, life still goes on for the many older people we work with across London. With one in five older people below the poverty line and many living alone, and many with multiple health conditions to manage life isn’t easy. As services disappear the needs of our fellow Londoners remain.

There are many older people who can’t get out, who have no family or friends left who are profoundly lonely. The day centres, lunch clubs, may be considered outmoded models, but the need left behind continues. They filled the need of those most vulnerable to meet others, spend time with others, build friendships and enjoy time together. They filled the loneliness gap. Continue reading