Healthcare system failing to meet needs of elderly

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Older people with multiple conditions feel that the healthcare system is not set up for their needs, according to a recent evaluation.

Many elderly people also feel that they are a burden within their home and the healthcare system. Importantly, this perception can often prevent them from seeking the help that they need. Open discussion about the needs of elderly patients was often found to be lacking. On the whole, however, they expressed great appreciation for the care they received.

These insights were drawn from the accounts of 36 patients, family members and carers, who shared their experiences of living with and managing chronic conditions. The evaluation was initiated by NHS Improving Quality and conducted by the Ipsos Ethnography Centre of Excellence.

Beverley Matthews, Long Term Conditions Programme Lead at NHS Improving Quality, said: ’If we are to improve patient care in this area, we need to fully understand the issues that people face on a day-to-day basis, and this ethnographic approach helps us to do that.

‘The evaluation has highlighted some significant issues and challenges, some of which we knew about before but this work really puts weight behind them. We will be working with our partners across health and care to help enable people to make the changes they need to for the benefit of patients, carers and families.’

Dr Martin McShane, NHS England’s National Medical Director for Long Term Conditions, agreed. ‘Listening to people’s stories and truly understanding, in depth, the impact long-term conditions have on their lives and the lives of those who care for them brings home the need to change the way they are supported.’