Elderly emergency admissions rising
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has called for urgent action to stem the rise in avoidable emergency admissions among the elderly, after data collected by the regulator revealed that 530,000 over 65s were admitted to England as an emergency for a preventable cause last year, representing an increase of more than 40% since 2007/8.
The CQC report, its annual State of Care Review, also highlighted common themes found during the 35,000 inspections made in 2012/13. Evidence of poor care was found in one in ten hospitals, with half of cases judged to have had a moderate or major impact on patients, while those suffering from dementia continuing to have among the worst outcomes, with similar problems identified in social care.
The regulator’s inspectors were “alarmed” to see the way patients were being treated and found “unacceptable” failures to protect the most vulnerable, with a deterioration in standards from an already poor position. It concluded that hospitals had made “no improvement” in monitoring the quality of care or in ensuring that patients were safe or treated with dignity and respect, and warned that the NHS has still not learned the lessons from the Mid-Staffs scandal.
However, the findings in this report were based on an inspection regime that has being radically revamped.
Avoidable admissions are caused by conditions such as dehydration or infections which could have been prevented with better care.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, has said:
“Avoidable admissions drain much needed resources from the NHS, but more importantly, they cause huge amounts of distress and discomfort to those patients who would much prefer to be cared for at home.”