RCOT’s new publication Living, not Existing: Putting prevention at the heart of care for older people, was launched on 12 July 2017 at London’s iconic Shard, as part of our ‘Occupational Therapy: Improving Lives, Saving Money’ campaign and is now available to download for each country.
Building on the Royal College’s previous report Reducing the pressure on hospitals (2016), this report focuses on the contribution that occupational therapists can and do make in order to give older people back their dignity and help NHS and social care services to work better together and be more efficient.
The message is clear: Many older people talk of simply existing, not living so improving older people’s health in the community is the essential component to relieving pressure on NHS services, keeping older people independent and ensuring efficiencies are achieved for the public purse.
The Royal College is committed to working together in partnership to help shape services that enable the older population and their families to have choice and control over how they live their lives in their final years.
This roundtable event saw leading people in the sector discussing the growing gap between health and social care, the increasing costs of providing care due to an aging population and the unprecedented demand facing primary care.
Those in attendance included:
- Margaret Wilcox, vice chair of Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)
- Baroness Sally Greengross, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ageing and Older people
- RT Hon Norman Lamb MP
- Fiona Ottewell, NHS Rightcare Delivery Partners
- Baroness Sheila Hollins, RCOT President
In her opening speech, Julia Scott, RCOT Chief Executive, said: "Getting a strong evidence base is challenging. Occupational therapists work in multidisciplinary teams and it is difficult to pull out data on the impact of one profession.
"However, we are taking the next steps to develop quantitative data with other partners to build on our emerging evidence base. The qualitative data – the service examples and personal stories and the feedback we have had from stakeholders – highlights that we can be an effective resource in meeting the needs of an ageing population.
"We ask that commissioners and providers use us wisely in order to deliver a prevention, asset based approach to improving the health and wellbeing of their local population."
Dr Patricia McClure, RCOT Chair of Council, emphasised: "I think we can all agree that reablement and promoting independence should be the guiding principle for older people who, due to their age and health, are unable to care for themselves and keep themselves from harm.
"To help make sure this happens for everyone, we need to use the expertise of occupational therapists wisely. As is so often the case in the health and care sector, there are pockets of outstanding best practice, many of them highlighted in our report.
"The challenge is to bring all services up to the standards of the best. As we show in our report, this doesn’t mean spending more money as the approaches we highlight not only result in higher quality, more person-centred care for those receiving services, they are also less costly in the long-term."
Join the Twitter campaign by tweeting with the hashtag #LiveNotExist