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Social care prevents unnecessary hospital visits

12 March 2014

Older people who don’t get care support at home are nearly a third more likely to end up in hospital, according to new analysis of the Health Survey for England data.

The Care and Support Alliance analysed over 1,000 respondents to the Health Survey aged 65 and over who said they need help with activities of daily living (things like help getting washed, dressed, going to the toilet).

The analysis found that 61% of older people who did not get the help needed visited hospital in the past year, compared to 47% of those who did receive care.

Along with the NHS Confederation and the British Red Cross, the Alliance is calling on the government to address “chronic underfunding” in the care system, arguing that getting care reform right is crucial to easing the growing pressure on health systems.

Richard Hawkes, chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said: "For the first time we can put a finger on the considerable impact local care support has on easing pressure on hard-pressed hospitals.

“Chronic underfunding has left hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people, who need support to do the basics, like getting up or out of the house, cut out of the care system.

“We want the government to have the courage to see its bold plans through, and make sure that those who need support to live independently get council care. To do this, the government needs to commit to properly funding the social care system.”

National charity for hospice care Help the Hospices – a member of the Alliance – has also been working with a number of other charities to highlight the importance of social care for everyone at the end of life.

Social care is key in ensuring that people can spend their final days in the place of their choosing. Without appropriate care, too many people are unable to return to their preferred place of death, and many face emergency admissions to hospital and ultimately die in hospital, despite this being the least preferred place of death.

Help the Hospices has been working with Macmillan Cancer Support, Sue Ryder, Motor Neurone Disease Association, The National Council for Palliative Care and Marie Curie Cancer Care to campaign for free social care for people at the end of life to support people to die in the place of their choosing.

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