Health and social care services must be age attuned

In response to the House of Lords Select Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change report Ready for Ageing? Professor Paul Knight, British Geriatrics Society President said: “It is cause for celebration that people are living longer but our health and social care services must be age attuned. All health and social care providers and professionals need training in the complex management of people with multiple long-term conditions who are after all the main recipients of care.

“We must make prudent use of multidisciplinary teams specialising in geriatric medicine who can operate across the traditional primary, secondary and community care boundaries. An efficient and appropriately resourced geriatric medical service is a boon to its local older population. Geriatricians can assist with assessments to target individuals into community based services in lieu of hospital admission and can provide specialist expertise to support primary care, including liaison with care homes.

“Investment in community services is vital. We need to provide more community resources so that people can manage their conditions better in the community and only go into hospital when this is appropriate. However, a well-resourced hospital environment is frequently the safest and most efficient way of ensuring that an older person’s health improves after an acute illness. The evidence shows that when frail older people are admitted to hospital they are 25% more likely to be alive and living independently at home six months later when they are looked after in a specialist unit for older people.

“It remains to be seen what the impact on hospital resources would be following greater investment in the community.”



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