“Failure to adapt”

Some recent work by AGE UK has highlighted the delays elderly people experience in securing aids and adaptations to their homes before they can leave hospital.  New figures suggest that some older people can spend a month longer in hospital, while waiting for alterations to be done to accommodate them after they have been discharged.

The extended hospital stay probably costs the NHS at least £6,000, whereas the adaptations can often cost less than £1,500.  It seems obvious at the current system should be speeded up.

Shrinking Local Authority budgets, protracted approval processes and lack of co-ordinated, joined up thinking, have been a problem in this area for years and it seems nothing has altered.  A radical change in the system is needed.

AGE UK has gone on a tangent and suggested that all new homes should be designed for easy adaptability.  There is nothing wrong with this suggestion but only just over 100,000 new homes are built each year and most of them are for families.  So in that way the problem may be solved in the next millennia.

Currently only around 3% of homes meet accessibility standards, so a lot of older people will languish in hospital a lot longer unless:-

AGE UK learn to rage about ability aids and adaptations and demand a new system!

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5 Responses to “Failure to adapt”

  1. Alex Robinson says:

    Surely – rather than restate a known problem – we should propose some solutions?
    This must be an area ripe for the private sector – how about suggesting bids for a “nursing home” /”halfway house” type approach? It would be dearer than a hotel but I bet it could be provided at a lot less than a hospital bed. Or how about making the local authority pick up the bill (assuming they are the ones who pay for adaptations) for hospital care from, say, 1 week after the hospital deems a patient fit for release till their home is ready? Both these ideas may be impractical but until the onus is put somewhere outside the NHS Trust nothing will happen. Isn’t this blog about making life uncomfortable for those who “need to do something”?

    • john graham says:

      You make some good points Alex and the blog is about turning grumbles into smiles, so I will try.
      Patient Hotels is a concept brought over from Scandinavia about 20 years ago. Sadly it did not catch on, mainly because it was perceived as “privatising the NHS”. We have to kill the sacred cow that “all health care can be free”, before real progress can be made on moving people out of hospital into a half way house, but the idea is a good one.
      With regard to adaptations, Local Authorities do have to pick up the bill, but do so slowly and reluctantly in these austere times, especially if it only saves the NHS money.
      There are suggestions, which have been talked about for years, to merge Health and Social Care, which might make the passage of hospital discharge simpler.

      Many elderly people are already being discharged too quickly, without proper discharge plans which should include any necessary aids and adaptions.
      The honest answer, which no politician will voice, but I will, is that there is not enough money for the State to provide good quality health/social care for the rapidly increasing number of older people. Those who can afford it will have to fend for themselves.
      The truth is the only smile I can give you

  2. • His is a complex subject, and AGEUK on their web site provide some insight into the financing of elderly care. The paper/ report I found to be full of jargon and statistics and made my understanding of the problems very difficult.
    • The argument and argy bargie over budgetary spends by local councils and the NHS for’ care’, with the statistical data proves maybe technically the spend is not as 2004 per elderly person: However we have had the economic meltdown of the financial industry and all of us as individuals have seen the value of our personal monies drastically decline- So the arguments appear to me to be academic? Those unfortunates who rely on the state like the rest of us poor mortals have seen and witnessed services cut to the elderly.
    • From this I draw an unsavoury conclusion! Economics by greater centres of excellence. Here I may draw a similarity of large occupational residential homes (500+ clients/residents) and large Nursing homes again (500+ residents), to give an economy of scale? Gone are the corner residential homes/nursing homes of 40 -60 for the elderly. The argument may terrify one, but it is a solution if one batters one head against a brick wall and financial restriction, and care in the home for those that need and are less mobile.
    • The only other solution is for families to pay and attend tor care or and nursing home/residential home services if one requests what one at present understands as personal dignity, and privacy.
    • AS for hospital/hotel/home services dream on the basic question is what will the market bare?? And as individuals can we afford to pay for what our heart desires.
    Come back the large sanatoriums and retreats in huge parklands, that most county borough’s and large cities had for the unfortunates! However the modern day place could be so different and run on a more socially acceptable policy of personal understanding? Our forefathers were not all stupid?- we now run the place?

  3. davidwfreeman237 says:

    What Next for the Social Health Care? By Age UK This document is also on Age UK’s web site, concerning health and care in the home, for the individual resident. Most cases quoted in the report are what I personally would consider deserving cases, and I would support assistance been given to them.
    The vexed question of monies and what is the expenditure by a resident either singly or as a family before local government or NHS assistance is given, must be clearly stated and an objective which one in which the populous of the UK can accept.
    When one has retired it is time to look forward at what the family can achieve and backwards to reflect on what one has personally achieved? One may not like either picture or image: However I trust with life’s realities and wisdoms, with the knocks one may enthuse the younger generation to do better and become independent of one’s parents, but supportive of one’s family? To this end I challenge the today’s thinkers in the schools, kinder gardens, colleges and Uni’s to make the younger generation appreciative of what history is and encourage them to strive for a more understanding society and political elite? N( No one political dogma is correct but through parliament we can all take some part in the future and enact our joint responsibilities by voting.

  4. davidwfreeman237 says:

    The problem with releasing housing, and paying the current elderly occuppiers what they believe it is worth, is difficult? It is a market economy of supply and demamand, and the cost of residential care and nursing care is so indeterminable (One’s life expectancy) that the elderly will/Maybe not accept the younger generations offer to buy, and further the housing market is stagnent, so they-that is the younger generation only have a limited buget or monies to offer, which may not meet the expected care costs of the elderly? Whom do the government subsides, and is there an economic trade off? A Limit to which the government will parly with a monetry offer either to the elderly or the young?
    I trying to smile But not quite got there yet!!!

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