Older people services demand grows

Tuesday December 1st 2020

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Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Demand for help from older people and their carers leapt by 15 per cent as a direct impact of Covid-19 on social services in Midlothian this year.

A report on adult social care services revealed that the number of referrals for older people services had risen sharply, with an increase also seen in the number of unpaid carers who sought help.

It said: “There has been an increase of around 15 per cent to referrals to the social work duty team, an increase in the number of unpaid carers looking after an older person seeking support and increase in demand for care and home services, and an increase in the number of crisis/emergency situations due to some older people’s services still remaining closed.

“Day care and respite services remain closed; however, plans are in place to attempt to re-establish these to provide some respite/short break to individuals and their unpaid carers.”

Despite concern over the rise in demand for help for elderly people, a virtual meeting of Midlothian Council’s cabinet was told that social and health services were working hard to keep vulnerable people safe in the county.

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Morag Barrow, joint director of Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), was asked about concerns raised at a national level about patients moving from hospital to care homes without a Covid-19 test.

Ms Barrow told the meeting: “In Midlothian, we have not accepted any residents who have not been tested in line with Scottish Government policy.

“The recent report did not have any Midlothian residents highlighted.”

Ms Barrow said that work to increase bed capacity at Midlothian Community Hospital was ongoing, with additional NHS funding made available to help keep as many Midlothian residents who needed care within the county.

She said: “We have facilities to keep residents in Midlothian and, if they have to go to Edinburgh, we have teams in place to pull them out as safely and quickly as possible.”

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