Shaming elderly emergency hospital admissions

hospital admissions

Shame on us!

I have recently read a very clear demonstration of how we as a nation are failing to provide the right care and support to older people to manage their continence.

Published in 2013, the same year as the Francis Report, CCG Outcomes Indicator Set: Emergency Admissions, demonstrates that the required care and support to enable dignified self-management and early intervention was also lacking in the community.

The greatest cause of hospital admissions 2011/12 for acute conditions not normally requiring hospital admission was Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), the incidence of these admissions rose 100% in 10 years since 2001/2 to a total number of admissions of over 130,000 in the year, and just under 90,000 of these were people over the age of 65.

UTI admissions

Each one of these admissions is a distressed, confused, scared individual who feels very unwell. Often they have come from their own home where they were independent and confident. Each hospital admission turns a person into a patient, who is reliant on others for basic activities of daily living. Often they find it difficult to regain the indepence and confidence they had before they were unwell, and may require reablement, homecare support or admission to long term care as a result. Something as simple as a “urine infection” can be the beginning of the end of independent living.

Urinary Incontinence (UI) increases the risk of a UTI. UI is twice as common in women presenting to GPs with UTI and twelve times as common in men aged 60+. In most cases incontinence can be reduced with good treatment, management, and the right support to help people self-care. Often people can regain continence completely.

I am unable to trace a more recent report, and would be happy to retract the above comments, if things have improved, but I have not seen or heard anything that suggests they have.

If you would like to discuss the improvement of community continence services, or new methods of care to support people to manage at home, please get in touch, or contact

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