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Minister: Care home elderly 'deserve full protection'

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb pictured earlier this month in east London. Credit: PA

Care and support minister Norman Lamb said: "People in hospitals and care homes deserve to be fully protected at all times, particularly when they need to be deprived of their liberty in their own best interests.

"This increase shows that more assessments are being carried out when they should be to safeguard people and protect their rights.

"Yet there is a long way to go before these provisions are fully used.

"The bottom line is that to deprive someone who lacks capacity of their liberty without a DoLS in place is unlawful and needs to be treated extremely seriously."

Dementia more than half of deprivation applications

Most applications and authorisations relate to older people with dementia living in care homes.

  • Dementia accounted for 53% of all applications in 2012/13, of which 59% were authorised.
  • The study said the number of applications has increased every year since the measures were introduced in 2009, though the rate of increase in 2012/13 was smaller than previous years.
  • There were 11,887 DoLS applications in 2012/13, a 4% increase on the 11,393 applications made in 2011/12.
  • The number of authorisations also increased, with 6,546 authorisations granted compared to 6,339 in 2011/12.


Two-thirds of care homes and hospitals 'break the law'

The report said two-thirds of care homes and hospitals who make applications break the law by failing to notify the CQC of outcomes or applications.

The CQC said this contrasted sharply with people aged 18 to 65 for which the rate has increased much less over the period and fell slightly last year.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, which apply in England and Wales, are intended to ensure that a care home or hospital only deprives someone of their liberty in a safe and correct way when they lack mental capacity.

They should only be applied when it is in the best interests of the person. Deprivation could include restraint, medication given against a patients will, staff having complete control over a patient's care or movements and staff making all decisions about a patient.

Sharp rise in restraint used to deprive elders of freedom

The number of safeguarding applications which deprive old people of their freedom through the use of techniques such as restraint have seen a sharp rise.

There has been an increase in the use of restraint. Credit: Angelika Warmuth/DPA/Press Association Images

A report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found a "sharp increase" in the number of applications from organisations such as care homes to deprive people aged 75 and over of their liberty.

For those aged 75 to 84, there was an 81% jump in the number of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) applications made between 2009/10 and 2012/13, from 71.2 per 100,000 to 128.6.

Among those aged 85 and over, the figure jumped 69%, from 156.6 per 100,000 to 265.3.

Government launches elderly malnourishment drive

The government has launched a project to tackle malnourishment among the elderly.

Government launches elderly malnourishment campaign Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

One million people over the age of 65 in England are prone to illness because they suffer from or are at risk of malnutrition, according to charity Age UK.

The project aims to increase diagnosis of the condition, and improve treatment, care and support for older people.


Lumely first to sign NHS 'Winter Friend' pledge

Actress Joanna Lumley was the first to pledge to help elderly friends and neighbours through the winter by signing up to an NHS scheme.

Actress Joanna Lumley urged people to sign up to the winter pledge to care for the elderly. Credit: PA

Lumley said she was "proud" to become a "Winter Friend" and urged others to join the scheme.

She said: "A little help really does go a long way. You will also find, I'm sure, that giving a bit of your time in this way is hugely rewarding.

"Older people can be physically frail but they have a lifetime's wisdom and experience to share."

Former Olympic champion Sally Gunnell, actor Sir Tony Robinson and rapper Plan B are also backing the initiative, an NHS England spokesman said.

NHS plea to look out for elderly this winter

Health officials want to recruit an army of good samaritans to care for their elderly neighbours or friends this winter.

The public need to be vigilant with their elderly neighbours and friends well-being this winter, health chiefs warned. Credit: PA

NHS England hopes 100,000 people will sign a pledge promising to look in on the elderly as the nights turn colder.

The scheme comes as a sharp rise in excess winter deaths was exposed, with pensioners the worst effected.

Figures released yesterday by the Office of National Statistics showed excess winter deaths rose by 29%, with over-75s accounting for 25,600 out of the 31,000 additional deaths.

Poll: One in six OAPs hide serious health problems

One in six pensioners have hidden serious problems with their health from loved ones, a survey found.

Families need to be more open with each about care options, Centra said. Credit: PA

The poll of 2,000 OAPs aged 65 and over found 16% had hidden an ailment because they were worried they would lose their independence or be seen as a burden, a survey found.

A further 12% thought if they made their injury known to family members they would be seen as incapable of looking after themselves.

Two thirds did not want to worry their loved ones.

The survey was carried out on behalf of telecare alarm provider Centra. Managing director Wendy Darling said: "There is a stigma that sometimes comes with growing older and it's clear this can stop people from facing up to the help they could get."

Report: Ofgem disputes cause of energy price hikes

Ofgem has questioned the "Big Six" energy firms' claims that soaring bills are down to a rise in wholesale market prices of gas and power, the Financial Times reported.

The energy regulator's figures claim that wholesale prices increased by only 1.7% over the past year, which should have been reflected in a rise of only around £10 on bills.

Centrica argued that Ofgem's methodology is '"flawed".

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