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Age UK: Solution to bed blocking lies in social care

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, has said that the solution to so-called 'bed blocking' lies in better social care for the elderly:

It is crazy to waste expensive NHS resources in this way, when it would be much more cost effective and better for older people to fund social care properly instead.

Waiting in hospital a month or more for social care to be organised can also undermine an older person’s chances of recovery and be profoundly upsetting for them and their families too.

Investing in social care would unblock the log jam and help our hospitals to work more efficiently. A properly resourced care system would transform many older people's lives for the better and would make financial sense as well. And just think how many more people of all ages could get speedier treatment in hospital if the social care support was there for the patients who can't be discharged without it.

– Caroline Abrahams, age uk


DH: Allegations must be dealt with robustly

Reacting to new data published by Charity Age UK showing a rise in the number of reports of suspected abuse of vulnerable older people, a Department of Health (DH) spokesman said:

No-one should suffer abuse or neglect in a place they are meant to feel safe in, whether this is in their own home or in a care setting.

It is encouraging that people are coming forward and making allegations where they have concerns because it allows the police, councils and the regulators to investigate them swiftly and robustly, as they must.

But we also need to make sure everything possible is done to protect people from abuse wherever it might take place.

This is why we have introduced a new Chief Inspector for Social Care who will hold local areas to account for abuse. We are also currently considering new measures to make directors of care homes and hospitals that allow neglect and abuse to take place personally and criminally accountable for failures in care.

Over half of case referrals for vulnerable elderly adults

Three fifths of the 112,000 cases referred by English councils were for abuse against vulnerable adults - described in the report as people who are or may be in need of community care services because they are elderly or suffer mental illness, a disability or another ailment - aged 65 or over.

Physical abuse and neglect were the most common types of abuse reported, the HSCIC experimental figures show.

Care workers and family were the most likely alleged abusers, according to the report.

Elderly abusers 'likely to be care workers and family'

New findings suggest care workers and family are the most likely alleged abusers of elderly people.

Findings from Age UK have revealed a rise in the number of reports of suspected abuse of elderly people.

These numbers are disturbing: even though growing awareness of the abuse of older people is likely to have contributed to the increase in the number of safeguarding concerns reported to and taken forward by English councils, they concern some of the most vulnerable people in our society, many of whom feel that they have no-one to turn to for help.

Any abuse of older people is unacceptable and we need a zero-tolerance approach to any abuse, whether through neglect, financial manipulation or physical or mental cruelty.

Our biggest fear is that there are still many cases that are not reported and we would encourage anyone who suspects that an older person is being abused to contact their social services department or the police straight away.

The Care Bill presents the ideal opportunity to ensure that vulnerable adults living in our community are given the best possible protection from neglect and abuse.

– Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK
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