Serious gaps in specialist services for older people with mental
health problems and sensory impairments as well as poor provision
for minority groups, have been highlighted in a report from the
Social Services Inspectorate, writes Natasha
A general shortfall in the availability of mental health
services was compounded by other observations, including that the
mental health needs of black and minority ethnic elders were often
unmet, particularly for intensive services. For those with visual
and sensory impairments specialist services were often limited and
had long waiting lists.
The SSI found that where services were not culturally sensitive,
there was “considerable potential for isolation and poor
outcomes, exacerbated by language difficulties and potential
misunderstandings by staff”.
The report also showed that only 1,000 older people across
England are receiving direct payments even though many councils
recognised the importance of developing the system.
However, the report details a number of improvements in the last
year including improved integrated strategic planning between
health and social care services, and the beginnings of a
“cultural shift” towards promoting independence and