Concerns over care of elderly in Norfolk

Dan GrimmerFears have been expressed over the long-term care of the elderly population as it was claimed more care homes in Norfolk are refusing to take in pensioners.Dan Grimmer

Fears have been expressed over the long-term care of the elderly population as it was claimed more care homes in Norfolk are refusing to take in pensioners.

According to Phil Wells, the chief executive of Age Concern Norwich, a growing number of elderly people - particularly those with dementia - are not being allowed to stay in care homes because they are regarded as 'too difficult'.

He said: 'Recently there have been a rising number of care homes who just don't seem willing to take on elderly people with dementia.

'They are regarded as too much hard work. We are finding more situations where care homes do not want to accept really sick, elderly people.'

Mr Wells said that some elderly people admitted to hospital were then left in a position where their care home said they could not take them back.

He added: 'I am deeply concerned about the care of old people. In Norfolk there are more and more people getting old and developing dementia, yet there is a lack of interest in so many spheres.

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'We should be putting old people first and it is very important this is sorted out in the county as soon as


The Alzheimer's Society has predicted that over the next 15 years, more than 91,000 people in East Anglia will have dementia compared with the current 63,000.

Recent research showed that dementia patients occupied a quarter of all hospital beds and often stay far longer in hospital than people without the condition who are admitted for the same treatment.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has experienced high delayed discharge rates in the past few years, reaching up to 80 patients last year, but this has been reduced to about 30 this week.

It means patients are bed blocking because they are fit enough to leave hospital, but they are not being accepted in a community care setting.

James Bullion, assistant director of community care for Adult Social Services at Norfolk County Council, said the council continually monitored the availability of care home places and was not aware of a problem, either within its own care homes or those run by the private


He added: 'There is, however, a lack of specialist dementia places in certain parts of the county, which is why we are introducing a care accommodation strategy, which will see an additional 800 dementia places

being created across the county.

'The recent national dementia strategy, which has led to a joint strategy with Health for Norfolk, should

also further improve care choices for people with dementia.

'In some very complex cases, it can take a while to find a suitable care home which can meet the individual's needs, but it is very important to get it right, particularly if an individual has dementia, to avoid making their confusion worse.'

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