National service framework for older people

People are living longer than ever before, and the proportion of older people in our society is growing.

This is rightly a cause for celebration. However, population ageing, with the fastest rise in the ‘oldest old’, means that the overall number of people in our society with health or care needs has risen. In turn, this has altered the very nature of our health and care services, with older people now the biggest users. This trend holds new responsibilities for the NHS and social care in helping older people stay healthy, active and independent for as long as possible.

Since its launch in 2001, the National Service Framework (NSF) for Older People (PDF, 510kb) has helped the NHS, social care and other organisations move significantly closer to this vision. By building stronger partnerships between NHS organisations, local councils, the private sector and older people themselves, the NSF for Older People helped bring about faster, more integrated care for older people.

Designed as a 10-year programme, the NSF contains eight standards relating to older people’s services covering the full range of care older people need. The standards embody fundamental principles ensuring care is based on clinical need, not age, and that services treat older people as individuals, promoting their quality of life, independence, dignity and their right to make choices about their own care.

The NSF also set out specific goals for tackling some of the most common conditions and problems in older people, eg falls. It also made the improvement of intermediate care a priority. Intermediate care speeds up hospital discharge and helps people get better in their own homes or in supported community settings. It also helps older people avoid crisis and emergency hospital admissions through timely and more personalised care.

The NSF for Older People provided direction and a focus on improvement in older people's services. All of the original standards in the NSF have ongoing relevance and are still clinically valid. However, in some areas, these standards have been developed much further, an example being the national dementia strategy. Also, many of the standards are now the subject of specific policy including the implementation of the Equality Act 2010 and the National Stroke Strategy (PDF, 1.04Mb).

Source :

Monday January 20, 2020, 1:17 am

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