- Researchers have claimed that older people, or those born from 1912 onwards, are becoming healthier and should no longer be seen as an extreme burden on the National Health Service (NHS).
- Each year since 1912, people are increasingly less likely to need emergency treatment, as found by a study by the University of Oxford.
- Older people are becoming healthier every year with better diets, a decline in smoking, and vaccines.
Researchers from the University of Oxford found that older people, born from 1912 onwards, are getting healthier. They less likely to visit an emergency room. Add to that, once they were admitted, shorter periods were spent in the hospital.
Experts stated that less smoking, healthier diets, vaccinations, preventative drugs, and better medical treatments have all helped to keep older people healthier in later life.
Each year’s group of older people are less likely to be hospitalized than the previous years. Nevertheless, the number of emergency admissions of patients aged over 65 rose to 2.13 million in 2011-12, from 1.51 million in 1999-2000.
The rise, however, has been attributed to the rise of the older population and factors such as technological advances, meaning that patients are admitted more often for tests.
The current society has also become increasingly ‘risk adverse’, meaning that older people are more likely to seek treatment.
Even taking these factors into account, the researchers calculated that older people are becoming increasingly healthier, leading to a decline in emergency admissions of more than 100,000.
Figures also showed that people stay in the hospital for less time when admitted. The number of days admitted for people aged 65 and over decreased by 9.1% from 22 million in 2001-2002, to 20 million in 2012-2013.
These trends may not continue however, due to the current generations’ high levels of obesity, frequent drinking, and less exercise.
A policy to reduce emergency admissions by 15 percent by the end of the decade has already been set out by NHS England. This was prompted by a charity’s warning of the huge costs caused by delays in releasing elderly patients after a hospital stay.
The charity, Age UK, stated in September that the average patient would need home alterations such as ramps or grab rails following a hospital admission, and might be forced to wait in a hospital bed for an extra 27 days while the improvements are made.
Analysis of NHS data showed that last year’s patients in England spent a total of 40,000 days of confinement while waiting for said changes, even when they were already well enough to go home.
The charity pointed out that the delayed discharges cost the NHS an estimated $15.1 million. It has now called for assurance that all new homes are built to the “lifetime home standard” so as to easily adapt as people age.
Source: Daily Mail