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Initiative that helps older people live at home shows signs of success

17th July 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Care and support services in Scotland are reportedly making great progress in shifting the care environment for older people away from hospitals and towards the homes and communities of individuals.

A report from The Guardian, which can be read in full here, has shown that a Scottish government initiative that seeks to help older people remain active and independent at home is already seeing success. Reshaping Care for Older People: A Programme for Change 2011-2021 is the name of this new project between the Joint Improvement Team and the Scottish government that is primarily aimed at directing the provision of care towards prevention of illness and accidents in the home environment.

Figures show that around £4.4 billion of public funding was spent on health and social care for people in Scotland over the age of 65, and over half of this was spent on care for older people whilst in hospital or in care homes. This suggests that a great deal of public money is spent on providing care for older people once they have been hurt from a fall or have a long term condition, but the Reshaping Care for Older People initiative hopes to help prevent these care costs and needs arising in the first place.

Taking preventative steps to ensure that older people are less likely to have accidents that lead to hospitalisation could save the NHS money and time, as well as improving the quality of life for older people who want to remain independent in their own homes. The Reshaping Care for Older People initiative aims to bring about an "ambitious shift towards care at home" according to Anne Hendry, clinical lead for the initiative, with support coming from investment in technology and mobility aids such as custom stairlifts, telecare and easy access baths to "empower greater choice and control", as well as other forms of preventative care.

A Change Fund of £300 million to be spent between 2011-2015 will be used as a key part of the initiative, helping to direct care towards helping people to stay in their own homes. This funding is only given out after plans are approved by Reshaping Care partnerships, and some of what has already been spent has seen some great results.

According to reports from the Joint Improvement Team, 80% of older people who are receiving in home support are now benefiting from telecare, bed days in hospital following an emergency admission for those aged over 75 are down by 7% in a 3-year time period, and in 2011 there were 6,500 fewer people living in care homes than demographic trends predicted.

This initiative is working towards integrating the health and social care systems in Scotland, and the positive results seen so far are something that the NHS in England could learn from.

 

Image Credit: Scottish Government (flickr.com)