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Big rise in the numbers of elderly going to care homes
OFFICIALS say the number of older people being admitted to care homes in the county has rocketed to more than 60 per cent above their target.
A total of 582 older people are expected to be permanently admitted into care homes this year.
This would be 182 people – or 46 per cent – higher than the target of 400.
A system that has seen OAPs taken out of hospital and put in temporary beds in care homes for assessment has been blamed for the surge in the figures.
The programme, which has now been scrapped, has seen too many pensioners then kept permanently in what are supposed to be temporary beds.
As of July, there had been 217 permanent admissions four months into the financial year – a 12 per cent increase on last year’s average and 63 per cent above target.
High numbers of placements in care home beds have been blamed and have now been scrapped.
The short-term assessment beds were introduced into care homes at the end of last year to enable older people’s needs to be assessed outside of hospital, but more patients ended up staying in care homes as a result.
Experts said more work needs to be done to keep elderly people out of care homes.
Deidre Jalie, from North Oxford, a member of the Older People’s Partnership Board, said: “Much more information needs to be available in hospitals in a leaflet saying ‘if you want advice about alternatives to care home, ask to see a social worker’.”
Ann Nursey, lead commissioner for older people at Oxfordshire County Council, spoke about the abandoned scheme at a meeting of the council’s older persons joint management group yesterday.
She said: “The aim was to reduce this and support more people in the community.
“It looks as though this is driven by the number of people leaving hospital and part of that is moving into an assessment bed and ending up as a permanent placement.”
The joint management group in May agreed to cancel these beds from August and to rely on alternative care arrangements.
John Jackson, director of social and community services for the council, said: “The issue is one of demand in the system and the fact at the moment we are not responding to that in the same way.
“We have a target of 400. We are well off the mark in terms of what is happening in Oxfordshire.
“The assessment bed as a pathway failed.
“Nearly everybody who went into it is a care home admission. We would like to see a better performance going forward.”
He added: “Care home placements are up. The demand on the system is huge.
“What we need to do is look at the whole region of advice and information when they go into hospital.
“We have got to do more work to get to the bottom of this.”
After the meeting, county council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “The policy of discharging some people from hospital to an assessment bed in a care home stopped at the end of August.
“It was stopped because the scheme was not working as intended.
“Alternatives depend on the individual, as always, but could include people being discharged to their home with appropriate support or to a community hospital.”
There are approximately 1,700 older people funded or part-funded by the county council to live in care homes or nursing homes.
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