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Rehabilitation - filling the care gap

5 July 2005 - 9:10am

CSP welcomes Health Secretary's pledge

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has welcomed today's pledge by Health Secretary Alan Milburn, to 'build a bridge between home and hospital' for elderly people.
Speaking this morning at the King's Fund, Mr Milburn said that findings of the National Beds Inquiry will show that two thirds of hospital beds are occupied by people aged 65 or over, and that the limited choice between being in hospital or being at home forces a lot of older people to stay in acute hospital beds because they are not fully recovered enough to go home.

Phil Gray, chief executive of the CSP, said: "Increased funding and emphasis on rehabilitation is something the Society has campaigned long and hard for. Physiotherapists have a major role to play in this area and I am delighted to hear our Health Secretary acknowledging this when he says that rehabilitation and recovery is the clear gap in the provision of health.

"Rehabilitation has been shown to enable vast improvements in the quality of life for all people, not only the elderly. In some areas it saves lives, but at the very least it maximises people's physical and emotional well being and allows them to return as much as possible to normal life. Given the choice, most people would chose this over lying in a hospital bed."

A recent CSP-led audit into the rehabilitation of elderly people who have fallen, revealed that fractures account for over half of injury admissions to hospital and two third of bed days for injury.

Mr Gray said: "During the 1980's it was common for acute care and rehabilitation to take place on the same ward. Increasing pressures on beds have reduced the time available for rehabilitation and increased the focus on acute care. This change means that there is a growth in the need for rehabilitation to take place elsewhere. Until now this option has been woefully underfunded."

A multi agency scheme in Sheffield has shown how thousands of bed days can be saved by a rapid response health and social support scheme. The Sheffield Assessment and Integrated Care Scheme based at the Northern General Hospital provides social or rehabilitation care to suitable elderly people admitted to A&E departments after a fall, thus avoiding an unnecessary stay in hospital. The team estimates that the number of bed days saved during its first nine-month period are equivalent to a ward with 17 beds.

Ends

Notes to editors

1. The Sheffield Assessment and Integrated Care Scheme is run by a team consisting of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, members of the community health and social services team, voluntary sector representatives and the ambulance service. The team provides an immediate multidisciplinary assessment at A&E for people not requiring hospitalisation because of an acute or traumatic illness, but in need of some social, nursing or rehabilitation care because of risk, deterioration or lack of carer support. The scheme was established in the winter of 1997/98.

2. Physiotherapy is the fourth largest health profession in the country and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) is the professional, educational and trade union body for the UK's 35,000 chartered physiotherapists, physiotherapy students and assistants.

For more information, please contact the CSP press office on 020 7306 6616 / 28

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