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Social and health care arrangements for older people leaving hospital are improving but more work still needs to be...
Social and health care arrangements for older people leaving hospital are improving but more work still needs to be done, says a report published by the Social Services Inspectorate.

Getting Better? Inspection of Hospital Discharge (Care Management) Arrangements for Older People reports on the findings of inspections in eight local authorities, carried out last year, and focusing on the social services role in inter-disciplinary assessment, care planning, discharge arrangements and the quality of outcomes for older people and their carers.

The report reveals that the quality of work with patients and carers, both leading up to and after leaving hospital, is often good, but that better coordination and planning between community,

health and social services staff is still needed.

Denise Platt, chief inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate, said: 'A consistent theme running through recent government initiatives is the need for health and social services to work more closely together - it is a priority that there should be a joint approach to planning and delivering services to ensure 'seamless' care for those who need it. So, it is encouraging to see that in some areas this is happening, with staff fully cooperating to pull together effective and efficient care plans following best practice hospital discharge procedures. The success of these undertakings is reflected in the level of satisfaction with services that older people and carers felt with the services they received.

'However, there is still much work that needs to be done. Monitoring information and perfomance measures were rarely robust enough for managers in social services or across agencies to chart the development of services effectively. Some authorities had reached joint agreements and some had developed rehabilitative services, but considerable scope for improvement remained.

'Older people are today leaving hospital and living in the community, many with high levels of dependency and great health and social care needs; overall, the inspection report shows that hospital discharge arrangements are getting better at meeting these differing demands, but that more has to be done to make these arrangements consistently effective.'

- Further copies of the report 'Getting Better? Inspection of Hospital Discharge (Care Managment) Arrangments for Older People are available from:

Department of Health

PO Box 410


LS23 7LN

Fax 0990 21026

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