'Wake-up call' for elderly care

Large proportions of elderly patients weren't receiving good care, the report concluded
Large proportions of elderly patients weren't receiving good care, the report concluded

By politics.co.uk staff

Only one-third of elderly patients are receiving good treatment in hospital, a report has claimed.

The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) investigated the care given to 820 patients over 80 years of age, who died within 30 days of surgery being performed on them.

The report found that 38% of them received care that could be classified as 'good', while two-thirds did not get reviewed by elderly care specialists.


NCEPOD chairman Bertie Leigh warned the problems found in the report needed tackling now due to the UK's ageing population.

"Our report describes problems that are going to become more and more prevalent," he said.

"The numbers of people aged over 85 will double in the next ten years, and we must
rise to the challenge that this presents."

Problems highlighted by the survey of doctors and case notes included delays for needed treatment and a lack of acute pain services.

NCEPOD called for far more regular engagement with specialists and for hospital treatment to be more flexible to the growing demand from elderly patients.

Mr Leigh added: "Elderly people tend to be more vulnerable than younger patients, and require a style of medicine that is sensitive to their many and varied needs.

"Our advisors found that far too many people were not getting that pattern of care. Again and again, I read of cases where doctors were insufficiently trained to understand the subtle and complex needs presented by elderly patients."

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