Doctors favour community care for older people
3 January 2013
Doctors leaders have welcomed a Welsh Assembly report calling for a shift of residential care into the community for older people.
Wales needs to re-examine its approach to caring for people of later years, according to the report from the health and social care committee.
Residential Care for Older People (PDF) in Wales calls for a reduction in the use of residential care as a default choice and supports the Welsh government's attempts to shift services to the community.
One of its recommendations says the NHS in Wales must do more to ensure that common conditions experienced by older people, such as incontinence, stroke recovery, falls and dementia, are managed and treated more effectively in the community.
BMA Welsh council chair Phil Banfield welcomed the report.
He said: 'From a rights-of-the-patient view, we are very pleased the report focuses on respect and dignity.
'All this depends on accounting for the disproportionate ageing population and the complex medical conditions that our population has in Wales, and this is very difficult when you have got services being reconfigured.
'What we are trying to do is keep people in their own homes rather than being in care, but this needs investment in community services and appropriate support.'
Health and social care committee chair Mark Drakeford said that considering care options for family and loved ones was a difficult process.
He said: 'Sensitivity and clarity is of paramount importance at this time. The committee believes that more must be done to reduce the pressures associated with making these hard decisions.
'Part of this process is to make information on all the available options as clear and simple as possible so that everyone involved in the process, including older people and their families, can make informed choices.
'We also believe that more could and should be done to reduce our reliance on residential care. The committee has seen many imaginative ways and high-quality services, which allow older people to keep their independence. The positive effects of such an approach are evident.’