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Elderly care must improve

18th October 2006

09082006_alzheimers1.jpgThe care of thousands of elderly people across England is not good enough, say inspectors in a new report.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection criticised standards in care homes, with lack of time being a major issue, in its report Time to Care?

In it the commission outlined concerns that there was a failure to listen to the needs of elderly people, and missed opportunities to promote more independent and rewarding lives. It concludes the need for a rethink on offering more choice and more personalised care.

It warned that councils concentrated services on those with most need, while others could be missing out. The report found that the number receiving council-funded home care help has dropped by almost a third between 1992 and 2005 despite a rise in older people.

Poor pay meant young people were less willing to work in the care industry, leaving it with recruitment problems and difficulty retaining good staff. This left staff rushed, and meant people may get little continuity of care.

Age Concern responded to the report, saying there was a greater need for preventative services which would keep people healthier and out of care for longer.

The Department of Health said there had been improvements, but admitted there was still some way to go to address quality and reliability. The department cited schemes such as Direct Payments and Individual Budgets which gave people more control over choosing the services they needed and how to commission them.

The government pledged to work closely with the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), local councils and health trusts to continue to improve services.


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