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Over 65 and condemned to death?

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Over 65 and condemned to death?

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									http://welfarenewsservice.co.uk/archives/387




Research suggests older people continue to receive poor care but the
introduction of a ban on age discrimination in October 2012 represents a
good opportunity for social work to demonstrate practice that challenges
the status quo, argues Di Galpin, senior lecturer, safeguarding adults at
Bournemouth University.
Article From communitycare.co.uk By Di Galpin
                                        Research from The Royal College of
                                        Surgeons suggests that, across a
                                        range of common conditions, people
                                        over the age of 65 are less likely to
                                        receive treatment. While the research
                                        indicates there may be a number of
                                        reasons for this, the authors suggest a
                                        patient’s chronological age is a
                                        significant factor, with treatment
                                        decisions made on assumptions about
                                        old age rather than a comprehensive
                                        and objective assessment of the
                                        individual. This supports previous
studies which have concluded that inadequate hospital care for older people
condemns many to death (NCEPOD, 2010). Poor care provision for those over
the age of 65 has also been identified in social care provision to older people
in their own homes. An inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission
(2012) found many incidents of older people’s human rights being breached
because of the way care was delivered by paid carers.
Impact on practice
The introduction of a ban on age discrimination in October 2012 is timely for
social workers who work with older people. This represents a good opportunity
for social work to demonstrate practice that challenges the status quo based
on law, values and ethics. While ministers believe provision should be based
on need, not age, arguably this approach alone will not remove age
discrimination in a society that is indifferent to the care of older people. Only
social work practice founded on the promotion of equality and human rights
will support a change in the ageist attitudes so prevalent in the provision of
health and social care. Putting the principles of human rights into action is
central to practice.


Questions for practice
Healy (2008, p745) states that “it is fair to conclude that social workers have
usually paid more attention to human needs rather than human rights”, and
goes on to suggest that what is missing from practice is a consciousness of
the activity of a social worker as human rights practice. Key questions for
practitioners are:


     What barriers exist in developing a human-rights-based approach to
      social work practice with older people?
     How can your practice help to break these down?
References
Equality and Human Rights Commission (2011), Close to home: An inquiry
into older people and human rights in home care, London: Equality and
Human Rights Commission


Government Equalities Office (2012), Equality Act 2010: Banning Age
Discrimination in Services: – an overview for service providers and customers,
London: Home Office
Healy, L.M (2008), Exploring the history of social work as a human rights
profession, International Social Work, 51(6): p735-748


National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcomes and Death
(2010), Elective and Emergency Surgery in the Elderly: An Age Old Problem,
London: NCEPOD


The Royal College of Surgeons (2012), Access all ages: Assessing the impact
of age on access to surgical treatment, London: The Royal College of
Surgeons


Wintour, P. (2012), Theresa May announces blanket ban on age discrimination
of patients, The Guardian, 11 June 2012

								
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