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Rise in cases of preventable illnesses among elderly

4th November 2015

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

Age UK has warned that the ageing population, care cuts and pressures on the NHS have created a ‘destructive vicious circle’, which has left one million older people to fend for themselves.

This has doubled the chances of older people being admitted to hospital, as spending efforts to help them remain independent have been slashed, with councils only able to focus on the most severe cases. While it is still possible to cover the cost of a stairlift with a Disabled Facilities Grant from the government, cuts are being made elsewhere, putting the lives of older people at risk.

Analysis conducted by Age UK has revealed that the growth in illnesses such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections has in fact outpaced the increase in the elderly population itself.

The number of people aged over 75 being admitted to hospital with pneumonia has increased by 128 per cent since 2006, with admissions per 100,000 people rising from 2,355 to 5,359. In this same period, admissions for urinary tract infections jumped by 88 per cent, demonstrating dramatic increases that are putting the health service under extra pressure.

Healthcare failing to keep up the pace with the ageing population

As these are conditions which are either preventable or manageable, it is evident that more needs to be done to ensure that these numbers do not keep climbing, and older people are not unnecessarily being affected by these illnesses. For example, doctors spotting infections earlier or providing better access to flu jabs could prevent many of these issues.

Jill Mortimer, co-author of the report, told the Telegraph: “The health and care services in England are overheating and they are increasingly unable to provide the right care in the right time in the right place for many people.

“The worrying thing is that this is increasing and it is not now the case that you have a health service managing pretty well and the only problem is in social care, it is now both of them.”

Image Credit: Chris Marchant (flickr.com)