Jonathan Werran 20 September 2012

Study warns elderly are excluded from decision making

Elderly people moved from NHS treatment to care services at home are often kept out from decisions which affect them, a major new study reported today.

According the report ‘Adrift in a foreign land’compiled by researchers from the University of Birmingham, many older people – including some suffering from dementia – feel they are not always treated with dignity and respect.

In making the transition from health to social care services, the research uncovered little evidence of NHS bodies and councils taking a planned and proactive approach to the care and support of older people.

Additionally, carers often feel undervalued by statutory providers, in contrast to the central thrust of current NHS reforms under the ‘Nothing about me, without me’ agenda.

The three-year study involved 22 older people who acted as co-researchers with academics and also had the participation of service providers and commissioners.

Jo Ellins, who led the research said the findings showed major shortcomings in services for older people in making the difficult transitions between health and social care.

One of the most striking finding, noted Ms Ellins, ‘was that even the smallest gestures by providers to connect with somebody as an human being – such as a smile or a hug – could make a significant difference to their sense of dignity and their experience overall’

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