‘Unacceptable’ Waits For Long Term Care

Elderly people are experiencing “unacceptably long waits” for long-term care and have difficulties in accessing their GP practice or local hospital, according to a report from Help the Aged.

The Spotlight on older people in the UK report revealed that one in 10 people over age 65 have difficulty getting to their GP practice or local hospital.

“Government policy is to give patients more choice as to where they go for treatment, but the choice for older people will be limited as long as they are dependent on inadequate transport systems,” said the report. “There is a growing trend for older people with complex needs to receive more hours of social care, while those with low-level needs receive less or none at all.”

The report warned that failure to meet older people’s care needs at an early stage can cause them to become depressed and isolated. More than one in five older people are not getting the help they need to leave the house; 8% are not getting help with everyday jobs; and 5% are not getting the help they need to manage their affairs.

The report said older people with dementia are particularly suffering. “Older people with dementia are experiencing unacceptably long waits for long-term care. Intermediate care services for this group are also poor, as they cannot access mainstream services. Older people with dementia who also experience physical illness need tailored rehabilitation services, but few are available,” the report added.

A separate report from King’s College London and the National Centre for Social Research revealed that 2.6% of people aged 66 and over living in private households had experienced mistreatment involving a family member, friend or care worker during the past year. This equates to about 227,000 people or around one in forty of the older population.

The figures showed that neglect was the predominant form of mistreatment at 1.1%, followed by financial abuse (0.7%), physical and psychological abuse (0.4%) and sexual abuse (0.2%).