News Opinion

Complex Care for the Elderly Under Increasing Pressure

Sharon Lane, Head of Complex Care for The Practice Group

 

With the UK’s continuously ageing population (according to Age UK, 1 in 5 people currently in the UK will live to see their 100th birthday), elderly people are facing a heightened number of health problems, causing a growing need for spaces in hospitals and care homes as well as increased pressure on home-based care providers.

Complex care, also known as long-term or continuing care, is the healthcare given to those with significant, long-term illnesses and conditions. Some of the conditions that require this type of care include Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, and Parkinson’s Disease. The complex care service is often provided either in a patient’s own home, or, depending on the severity of their condition, can be provided in an NHS-funded nursing home. Specialist nurses ensure an element of familiarity in a patient’s life, while allowing family and friends to spend much-needed quality time with their loved one.

There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, a figure which, according to the Department of Health, will increase to more than one million by 2050. Elderly patients with deteriorating conditions such as dementia need specialist care to ensure they are safe and monitored as the disease progresses until end-of-life care is required. To make matters worse, there is a major shortfall in care home beds as the number being built each year is only half of the growing population that needs them. In the past three years, one in 20 care home beds have closed due to funding, and by the end of 2018, it is predicted that 3,000 elderly people will not have access to beds in care homes. Within nine years, there will be a need for roughly 70,000 beds.

The truth of the matter is that there is simply not enough space to accommodate the growing number of complex care cases in the UK. Having an in-home service, where care is provided to patients in the comfort of their own home, is not only beneficial to the patient, but something that could save NHS resource. A patient and family-centric approach to complex care is essential in providing the highest possible quality of care while supporting loved ones through a challenging time. Among the obvious, symptoms of dementia are withdrawal, depression and confusion, which can make the illness even more difficult for family and friends to deal with.

TPG Complex Care works with patients, both in-home and at healthcare facilities, who are living with a wide range of long-term conditions, creating specifically tailored care plans for each individual depending on their required level of care. The services offered by TPG Complex Care are specific to individuals because they simply have to be; it is not and never will be ‘one size fits all’. The assessment process is rigorous and thorough, and the outcome is a tailored plan to ensure that all patients have the best possible care. With offices all across the UK, and despite the Complex Care services only being in our launched a year ago, growing recognition about the quality of our support and a 100% client satisfaction rate, has enabled us to expand our management team by nearly 5-fold in just over a year.

But is Complex Care enough to keep up with the ever-growing demand in the UK? How can we future-proof the NHS to ensure the care provided is of high-quality, tailored and sustainable? It is evident that the issues highlighted by the increasing pressure placed upon NHS services by those who live longer will only continue on an inevitable upward trail, unless we address them fast.

 

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