‘Opportunity to switch approach’

A threefold increase in delayed discharges and 855,000 emergency admissions to hospital for older people (in 2019/20) that might have been avoided are just two of the headline figures from a new report by Age UK.

According to the report, one in six emergency admissions of people over 75 occur within 30 days of last being discharged from hospital, while the rate of A&E attendances among the over-80s went up by over 40% between 2012/13 and 2021/22.  An estimated 1.6 million people aged 65-plus have unmet needs for care and support.

“In many ways the picture painted by our new report is deeply depressing, but what strikes me the most is the wonderful opportunity we have now to switch to a much more effective approach to providing health and social care services for older people in their own homes and in care homes,” said Age UK chief executive Paul Farmer.

Age UK’s report – “The State of Health and Care of Older People in England 2023” – says that over winter 2022/23 between 13,000 and 14,000 patients were “stranded” in hospitals awaiting discharge on any given day, up from around 4,500 in the same period of 2018/19. Another striking figure is that between 2015 and 2020 there was a 24% reduction in the number of nursing posts in social care.