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Tightening criteria limiting the availability of elderly care

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According to a new study from Age UK and the College of Social Work, 1 in 4 specialists who carry out assessments for elderly care feel the need to exaggerate the frailty of their patients in order to get around ever-tightening care criteria.

The restrictions around the qualifications for care have increased as council budgets have been reduced by a third since 2010 – and with more cuts anticipated in forthcoming spending reviews, the problem is expected to become more and more prevalent in areas across the country.

In the survey, 8 out of 10 social workers who conducted assessments for elderly care agreed that elderly people whose needs have not changed in the last four years now get less support than they previously would have, and 9 in 10 said they believe life will get increasingly difficult for older people over the coming years.

Bernard Walker, chair of The College of Social Work Adults Faculty, commented: “As well as causing unnecessary suffering to many frail and lonely older people, this situation is causing their care needs to escalate more quickly, increasing the burden on higher cost care services provided by the NHS.”

Director General of Age UK, Michelle Mitchell, added: “Older people at a vulnerable time in their lives deserve a system that not only meets their care needs but does so in a transparent and accountable way.”

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