A STUDY conducted by Age UK, the charity representing older people, has revealed the need for wide-ranging changes in the care system for the elderly, both in hospitals and in care homes.
Members attending the Hillingdon branch Age UK annual meeting at the civic centre in Uxbridge on Thursday last week heard that the study, begun in July last year, had discovered deep-rooted and persistent problems experienced by pensioners in the National Health Service and in private care homes.
Ruthe Isden, Age UK’s public services programme manager, told delegates that some of the findings highlighted from the survey were ‘shocking’ and pointed to a lack of thought about dealing with the elderly and their families.
She said: “Sixty per cent of older people say they have suffered age discrimination in hospitals. Our study revealed that just four percent of over 75s who had suffered strokes were given an MRI scan, compared with 26 per cent of those under 75.
“You sometimes hear elderly patients described as ‘bed blockers’ which is a degrading description and wholly inappropriate.”
Ms Isden said that following on from the survey, which also involved the NHS Confederation and the Local Government Association, the national Age UK organisation had now decided to devote a further two years to trying to implement better working practices in hospitals and care homes and more exacting training for those health care professionals dealing with elderly people. She added: “Sixty-five per cent of hospital patients are elderly but it doesn’t appear that staff receive enough training about dealing with old folk and ensuring that their dignity is preserved.”