Assertive outreach ‘denied to over 65s’

Older people under the care of assertive outreach teams are being
denied services when they reach 65, according to the chief
executive of the Mental Health Foundation.

Andrew McCulloch told delegates that it was “totally absurd” that
practitioners in assertive outreach teams were being told that they
could not keep seeing clients.

“If the assertive outreach model is good when you are 59 or 64 it
may still be required when you are 66,” he said.

He added “older people-friendly services” needed to be

One way would be to engage more mature workers in providing
services, perhaps by delivering brief interventions on a part-time
basis within primary care.

McCulloch said: “The idea that an older person with depression and
anxiety, and perhaps sexual dysfunction, is going to talk to a
graduate primary care worker is not realistic. There’s a lack of
common sense. To impose that type of model generally is not good
public policy.”

Sandra Gidley, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for older people, said
low-level interventions early on could prevent additional costs

She said: “I feel very strongly that if having a garden looking
nice and tidy helps a person relax and do other things councils
should be looking at small amounts of money to tackle these sorts
of things.”

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