Times have changed
It used to be that if you were sick and or old, you went into a National Health Hospital. If long term care was needed that was provided free of charge. However the number of hospitals giving extended care has dwindled dramatically over the last twenty years and there are very few left. Some of them well passed their "sell-by date".
This change means that more people are cared for in their own homes by their own families either with or without support from Social Services. But it has also meant that increasing numbers of patients who would have got free NHS care, have had to move into private, fee-paying homes.
Who should be responsible for paying for this has become a muddle over the last ten years. Only if you are next to destitute do you not have to pay. The rules for paying for long term care are complex beyond belief, and lack of clear Government action has led to the "postcode lottery".
The artificial division between health and social care lies at the heart of the problem. It's not going to be easy to fix this without getting the NHS and Social Care to work together without duplication of staff, managers, and (endless) paperwork, assessments etc...
Sometimes the excuse is made that Data protection legislation makes things difficult but
The Data Protection Act 1998 does not set out to prevent the sharing of personal information. To the contrary, provided that the necessary conditions of the Act can be met, sharing is perfectly legal.
If an older person goes into hospital for emergency treatment don't be surprised if you get a message on your answering machine from the ward sister after a few days that your Mother is ready to go home now - it happened to me!
Some questions to ask yourself:-
1 Could you cope?
2 Would you have to give up your job? or
3 Could you afford the care home fees?
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