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Inadequate social care system is failing elderly people, say leading charities

Posted: 17/11/2016

Fresh evidence published by Age UK and the Alzheimer's Society has criticised the quality of social care and the way it is rationed for older people living in the community, according to BBC News.

The research shows that:

  • there are now an estimated 1.2 million over-65s who require help but are not receiving care - nearly one in eight of all older people;
  • some 300,000 of them have difficulty with three or more tasks, including dressing, bathing and going to the toilet;
  • councils agreed to help under half the 1.3 million people who approached them for care last year;
  • where home care was provided ‘serious problems’ were identified in the way dementia patients were treated;
  • staff said they had not been given enough training to cope with the complex needs people had;
  • families reported examples of poor care, including loved ones not being given medication, being left in dirty clothes for days and going missing after homes had not been properly secured.

Caroline Abrahams, of Age UK, stated that she was ‘extremely worried’ about the ‘shameful’ state of the care system.

Commenting on the evidence published by the two charities, Lucie Prothero, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches who specialises in elderly care, said: “These findings are alarming, but sadly, not surprising. It is widely reported that the UK population is ageing and yet social care funding is being rationed to the extent that vulnerable older people are being put at risk.

“We are dealing with an increasing number of cases and enquiries relating to poor standards of elderly care, either in the community setting or in hospitals. For instance, we often act for elderly people where they have suffered falls in their homes, which can in many cases have devastating consequences – such as disabling hip fractures, brain injury and even death. We also deal with cases of malnourishment and the development of avoidable pressure sores, which can cause an immense amount of pain. 

“In many instances, the problems appear to have stemmed from an inadequate level of support in the home. These events can result in hospital admissions that would otherwise have been avoided, placing additional strain on our over-stretched A&E departments. We then see complaints regarding poor standards of medical and nursing care once the older patient is admitted to hospital, often leading to a downward spiral in the person’s health and preventing a return to their homes. It is clear from our experience of dealing with elderly care claims that the health and social care services are in need of additional and appropriately-targeted funding in order to protect the vulnerable.”

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP