Help the Aged responded to a new evaluation study published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which found that bringing a community nursing and physiotherapy team into residential care homes for older people improved quality of life and reduced hospital admissions.

The two-year pilot scheme, set up in a group of local authority residential homes caring for 131 long-term residents, found that a dedicated 'in-reach team' was able to detect and deal with undiagnosed illnesses, producing long-term benefits for residents' health and quality of life.

Elizabeth McLennan, Policy Officer at Help the Aged, commented:

"This report highlights the importance of access to primary healthcare services for people staying in care homes. The value of preventing hospital admissions cannot be underestimated, both in terms of maintaining quality of life of older people, along with the cost to the NHS.

"Many older people lose links with their local healthcare services on entering a care home.

"It's vital that along with the rest of the population, care home residents have access to free primary healthcare. Often, access to GPs is not free.

"Failure to give care home residents the same medical priority as people living in their own homes means forcing thousands of older people to endure lives of avoidable pain and suffering, with an increased chance of hospital admission.

"This isn't just a case of poor standards on the part of the NHS, it is a breach of human rights."

Notes

Help the Aged is currently campaigning to secure a change in the law to outlaw age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services. Please visit helptheaged/en-gb/Campaigns/ for information about 'Just Equal Treatment'.

Right care, Right deal' is the new national campaign launched to build public awareness and support for the need for brave and innovative solutions for the social care system. With the Government indicating that social care is an urgent political priority, and in advance of the expected green paper later in 2008, the campaign combines three of the UK's largest charities working with and for older people and their families and carers, and will urge the government to renew its vision for the future of social care in England. Visit rightcare

Help the Aged is the charity fighting to free disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas from poverty, isolation, neglect and ageism. It campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues affecting older people and to bring about policy change. The Charity delivers a range of services: information and advice, home support and community living, including international development work. These are supported by its paid-for services and fundraising activities - which aim to increase funding in the future to respond to the growing unmet needs of disadvantaged older people. Help the Aged also funds vital research into the health issues and experiences of older people to improve the quality of later life.

Help the Aged urgently needs donations and support to help it in the increasingly challenging fight to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect.

Help the Aged

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