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‘Hundreds’ of young in old people’s homes


By Eleanor Bradford BBC Scotland Health Correspondent

  • 29 February 2016
  • From the section Scotland


Image caption Romana was placed in a care home after suffering a brain haemorrhage at 23

Younger people with neurological conditions are being cared for in old people’s homes, according to the charity Sue Ryder.

It said there is nowhere else for them to go because of a lack of specialist facilities.

The Scottish government said it wants people to be treated in their own homes or as close to home as possible.

Minister Jamie Hepburn said it plans to invest £250m a year to “protect and grow” social care services.

Romana was placed in a care home for the elderly at the age of just 23, after suffering a severe brain haemorrhage when she was four months pregnant with her second child.

She couldn’t see her children apart from short visits.

“It felt very strange because everyone around me was so much older; I was a very young girl at the time, and I felt I had lost my family,” she said.

Image caption After two years at a Sue Ryder centre, Romana is preparing to move into her own flat

After two years, the Sue Ryder charity heard of her case and offered her a place at their neurological centre in Aberdeen.

With specialised rehabilitation, Romana learned to walk and live independently.

She is now looking forward to having her own flat, and sleeping under the same roof as her children for the first time in seven years.

Older people’s care homes do a great job for people in their 80s and 90s but people like Romana need a differnt environmentPamela Mackenzie, Sue Ryder

Sue Ryder asked every local authority and health board in Scotland how many people with neurological conditions are being cared for in old people’s care homes.

Neurological conditions include Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease and brain injuries.

Only a third of local authorities provided figures. They said 63 people under the age of 65 were being cared for in such an environment.

If those figures were replicated across the remaining health boards it would mean about 250 people are in an inappropriate environment.

They said a further 182 people aged over 65 with neurological conditions were in a care home for older people.

Image caption The charity believes up to 1,000 people could be missing out on appropriate treatment

Image caption The charity has called on the Scottish government to “take immediate action”

The charity said this meant a total of nearly 1,000 people could be missing out on specialist treatment, support and rehabilitation.

Sue Ryder’s assistant director Scotland, Pamela Mackenzie, said: “Romana was quite a different lady when she first came. She was withdrawn and depressed and she really had been written off.

“Older people’s care homes do a great job for people in their 80s and 90s, but people like Romana need a different environment. Their conditions are quite different.

“It is clear from our research that the needs of people with neurological conditions have largely been overlooked in recent years.

“We urge the Scottish government to take immediate action to address these inequalities so people with neurological conditions get the chance of a better quality of life.”

‘Vital role’

The minister for health improvement, Jamie Hepburn, said: “Our 2016/17 budget sets out plans to invest a further £250m per year through health and social care partnerships, to protect and grow social care services, and invest £11.6m to implement self-directed support.

“We also recognise the vital role specialist nurses play in patient care. This is why we committed £2.5m of recurring funding for specialist nursing and care, including up to £700,000 to specifically target MND care.

“The health boards involved are currently recruiting additional nurses, or increasing the hours of existing nurses in order to fulfil our pledge to double the number of MND nurses in Scotland.

“Some posts have already been filled and the remaining posts are expected to be filled by spring 2016.”


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