Age UK’s Personalised Integrated Care Programme is helping older people regain their independence

Meet 77 year old Robert.

Living in Thornton Heath, he was never apart from his wife of 45 years who he was caring for as she had cancer.

However, that was all about to change.

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Age UK’s Personalised Integrated Care Programme: where are we now?


Integrated care is one of the most important concepts in healthcare today.

For those unfamiliar, integrated care is a way of coordinating bodies from across health and social care to deliver truly personalised care for individuals. It moves the system away from an ‘episodic,’ fragmented care model to one that’s more continuous and seamless.

At Age UK, our Personalised Integrated Care Programme continues to expand and our interim evaluation results show it going from strength to strength.

Continue reading “Age UK’s Personalised Integrated Care Programme: where are we now?”

Age UK’s Integrated Care Programme is making a difference


The need for integration in healthcare is very important and growing all the time.

Startling recent statistics show there are 2.6 million older people who live with multiple long term health conditions like diabetes, dementia and heart conditions. What’s more, over 65’s represent 60% of all hospital admissions, have longer average hospital stays than other age groups and are more likely to be readmitted within 28 days in an emergency.

It is against this backdrop that Age UK is expanding its Integrated Care Programme.

Our aim is to reduce the number of people with long-term conditions going into hospital through unplanned admissions, improve their health and wellbeing and ultimately deliver transformation to the whole system.   Continue reading “Age UK’s Integrated Care Programme is making a difference”

Barker Commission ‘lights the blue touch paper’ over paying for better health and care

Older woman with carerYesterday the Barker Commission published its report on the future of the NHS and social care. Established by the Kings Fund, the Commission was led by Dame Kate Barker, a renowned economist.

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Spending Review 2013

Older people featured rather significantly in the public spending review to 2015/16. The Chancellor talked quite forcefully about the need to address the problems in social care, and in his consideration of welfare spending, he firmly identified state pensions as remaining outside his proposed new ‘cap’.

440x210_george-osborneThe landscape for the next Government is coming into view, but what does it mean for older people beyond the rhetoric? By 2016, of course, we should be implementing the legislation currently being debated in Parliament and have in place a new single tier state pension and a new social care regime – funded in part by the ideas proposed by Andrew Dilnot. The spending plans suggest that more money will be diverted from NHS budgets into programmes jointly commissioned with social care.   If this means more integrated care and a more ‘whole person’ approach, it will be welcome. But before we get there, local government will have taken another severe cut in its budget, and there is speculation that social care support may be prioritised only for those with critical needs. This means we will remain far away from the ambition to provide the appropriate care which promotes independence and prevents people from becoming substantially or critically in need of care. Continue reading “Spending Review 2013”

Guest blog – Mad as hell: Older people must demand a better care experience

This blog was contributed by Dr Nick Goodwin a speaker at Age UK’s annual For Later Life conference. Nick is CEO of the International Foundation for Integrated Care and a Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, London where he leads their programme of research and analysis for improving and integrating care for older people and those with long-term conditions.

When my elderly father was in hospital recently his experience of an uncoordinated, chaotic and impersonal service was both dispiriting and disturbing to both him and his family. Whilst clinical decision-making was good, and as a result his physical health returned through the miracles of blood transfusions and intravenous antibiotics, the experience undoubtedly took a large piece out of his mental wellbeing and future self-confidence.

The underlying problem was a lack of care co-ordination. The lack of information sharing on diagnosis, procedures, results and next steps led to worried waits about the seriousness of his condition and what, as a family, we needed to put in place for home care support. Different and conflicting advice and feedback from doctors and nurses was unhelpful. The lack of 440x210-woman-in-hospital-bedcommunication between wards, and between nurses on the wards, meant that his medication regime for Parkinson’s was often ignored despite constant reminders. No help was given to support discharge, and no plan put in place. Continue reading “Guest blog – Mad as hell: Older people must demand a better care experience”

Guest blog – Getting it right when it’s complex: Person-centred care for people with complex needs

This guest blog was contributed by Kate Gridley, Research Fellow, Social Policy Research Unit/School for Social Care Research, University of York.

It was with tentative optimism that I read the short paragraph in the Government’s recently published social care white paper that proposed that everyone with a care plan should be allocated a named professional to take responsibility for care coordination. The importance of on-going support to help people access and coordinate services, for example from a dedicated case manager, was a key finding of the research we recently carried out at the Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU, University of York) into good practice in social care for people with severe and complex needs.

For this study we consulted people with complex needs (including older people with dementia), family carers and members of specialist voluntary and user organisations, about what they consider to be good practice when someone’s needs are severe and complex. In addition to a person centred approach to everyday care and support (for example from a known and trusted helper ), participants valued person-centred support to arrange and coordinate care, over time, from a case manager or other individual who knew them well and had expert knowledge of their needs and the services available to them.

photo credit: David Blumenkrantz

When we carried out a literature review to scope the evidence on good practice for people with complex needs, we were disappointed to find little robust evidence about what works. However, there was some evidence in support of intensive case management for older people with severe dementia. In a study by Challis and colleagues (2002), older people using a community mental health service who received case management had reduced needs compared to older people using a similar service with no case management, and their carers experienced less stress. What’s more, after two years 51% of the case management group were still living in their own homes, compared to only 33% of the comparison group.

Continue reading “Guest blog – Getting it right when it’s complex: Person-centred care for people with complex needs”