Support for older people in England

Human Rights Watch | January 2019| Support for older people in England

A new report from Human Rights Watch- Unmet Needs: Improper Social Care Assessments for Older People in England- finds that older people in the UK are not being given the help they need to live independently. 


Interviews of 104 people between the ages of 58 and 94  and 20 family caregivers alongside interviews with stakeholders including representatives of charities, NHS staff and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) staff and policy experts to name but a few were used to compile the report. Some of the interviewees said that assessors appeared not to understand their disabilities and support needs. In other cases, before beginning an assessment, assessors announced that services would be cut regardless of an individual’s actual need. In some cases services were denied or cut significantly, affecting older people’s health and wellbeing.

Bethany Brown, researcher on older people’s rights at Human Rights Watch, said: “Older people do not always get fair assessments of the support they need to live dignified, independent lives. Older people’s health and wellbeing can be harmed if they do not get the services they are entitled to.

“Many older people in England desperately need these services and have no alternatives, so serious cuts to social services funding and an improper assessment can cause tangible risks to their health and wellbeing (Source: OnMedica).

“Oversight is a crucial part of a properly functioning system, and the UK government should make sure that local authorities consistently conduct fair and accurate assessments and deliver appropriate services.” (via OnMedica)

OnMedica Health risks from poor support for older people

Support for older people in England [Easy Read]

In the news:

OnMedica Health risks from poor support for older people

Health Rights Watch United Kingdom: Older People Left Without Support

Older people living alone are 50% more likely to visit A&E than those who live with others

The Health Foundation |December 2018 |Older people living alone are 50% more likely to visit A&E than those who live with others

The Health Foundation research focuses on older adults, aged 65 and over, a group  recognised as being at increased risk of social isolation, a factor known to increase risk of poor health. Previous research has indicated that poor social relationships can increase the likelihood of stroke by over a third (32%).  


New research from The Health Foundation finds that older people who live alone are 50 per cent more likely to attend A&E, more likely to visit their GP, they also  found almost half (49.8%) of patients aged 65 or older living alone have three or more long-term conditions, compared to 42.2% of older people living with others. People aged 65+ who live alone have a higher incidence of mental illness, with a quarter having a mental health condition, this compares to 20 % of their peers who live with others.

While the study finds a link between living alone and increased use of health care services it is unclear exactly why this is. It could be that older people living alone are more unwell due to loneliness, known to negatively impact health. Another possible explanation is that people living alone may require more assistance from the NHS when they fall ill due to a lack of immediate support at home (Source: The Health Foundation).

Read the full release at The Health Foundation

Help at Home – Use of assistive technology for older people

This review presents a selection of recent research on assistive technology for older people funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and other government funders. The review focusses on research around the use of technology in the home, remote monitoring systems and designing better environments for older people | NIHR

More people are living longer with complex conditions and needs. Technology can help people to stay living well and safely at home as they get older. But technology is changing rapidly and it can be challenging to get the right technology for the right person with the right support. There has been considerable investment recently in developing and evaluating assistive technologies for older people. But this is a relatively new field and there are important gaps in what we know.

Full report: Help at Home – Use of assistive technology for older people

help at home
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Age is just a number:Views among people aged 50 and over in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Centre for Ageing Better |November 2018 | Age is just a number: Views among people aged 50 and over in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Analysis of data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) conducted by the Centre for Ageing Better, shows that more than half (60 %) of people over 50 have a positive attitude towards ageing. Their analysis also indicates that there are differences in attitude across socioeconomic groups and that negativity about the ageing process can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Centre for Ageing Better states that more needs to be done help people to think about their health and how to keep active and socially connected as they age, this is particularly the case for people who are less well-off, who are most at risk of missing out on a good later life (Source: Centre for Ageing Better).


Lower paid over-50s the most pessimistic about ageing, new analysis shows [press release]  from Centre for Ageing Better 

Download the report 


National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD) annual report 2018

Royal College of Physicians | November 2018 | National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD) annual report 2018

Hip fracture is the most common serious injury in older people. It is also the most common reason for older people to need emergency anaesthesia and surgery, and the commonest cause of death following an accident. Hip fracture is associated with a total cost to health and social services of over £1 billion per year.The National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD) annual report 2018  describes the process and outcome of care provided to 66,668 people presenting with a hip fracture in 2017. It shows the dramatic results of an innovative programme of screening for delirium which has been the focus of attention and investment through NHS England’s best practice tariff. 

National hip
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Key recommendations 

  • Hospitals should examine their own NHFD data in dashboards and run charts and those with poor rates of orthogeriatric assessment should consider the implications of this for the quality of initial assessment, preoperative optimisation, perioperative medical care, rehabilitation, discharge planning, and survival that are described in this report.
  • Hospitals should examine their own NHFD data in dashboards and run charts and those with poor performance should establish what proportion of delays in surgical operations are the result of avoidable inefficiencies in preoperative planning or in the organisation of theatre lists.
  •  Those providing or commissioning hip fracture services must examine their run charts and dashboards, and challenge units which report low rates of THR in eligible cases, or low rates of SHS for A1/A2 fractures – such findings would suggest that these groups of patients are not being treated in a cost-effective way that is in line with NICE guidance.
  • Physiotherapy leads must be included in hip fracture programme governance meetings and if the key performance indicator ‘Prompt mobilisation after surgery’ identifies a concern this must lead to development of plans to improve multidisciplinary working and avoid people being unable to get up promptly as a result of pain, low blood pressure or delirium.
  • Clinical teams must review the new key performance indicator ‘proportion of patients not delirious when tested after operation’ for their unit. If dashboards and benchmarking tables highlight poor performance then multidisciplinary clinical governance meetings must consider, discuss and develop plans to improve the perioperative care they are providing to their patients (Source: Royal College of Physicians).

Download the full report from RCGP 


Seamless services to improve outcomes for people

NHS Confederation | September 2018 | Seamless services to improve outcomes for people

The briefing provides an insight into the aims of providing seamless services and showcases the different ways health and care are now delivered.


The key points within the briefing include:

  • Services should be organised around the individual to provide person-centred care.
  • A seamless health and care system results in efficient and effective care that delivers the right outcomes for individuals.
  • Organising the collective skills and resources in a community around an individual can provide better outcomes for them.
  • Regional Partnership Boards are central to the delivery of seamless services and new models of care.
  • Across Wales, new ways of working are already providing a seamless response (Source: NHS Confederation).Download it from NHS Confederation 

The Safety Net for Older People Living at Home is Failing and in Urgent Need of Repair

Age UK | September 2018 | The Safety Net for Older People Living at Home is Failing and in Urgent Need of Repair

A new interim report from Age UK warns that that the safety net we expect to be there for us as we age, if we are living at home, has become dangerously weak, with older people living alone in declining health, with no family and friends to support them, at particularly high risk


The report argues that while we may all assume that health and care professionals will keep a gentle eye on the wellbeing of older people who live at home and whose health is of concern or in decline, this can no longer be guaranteed, because of deficits within our over-stretched health and care services, plus fragmentation between them.

It explains that these problems are now often so great that a loved one needs to ‘hold the ring’ for an older person in this position, to chase progress and join up services for them. This job often falls to an adult child, or an ageing partner, placing a very considerable burden on families and often causing them considerable anxiety and distress. (Source: Age UK).

Read the full release at Age UK

Interim report here