School of Law

“We need to show older people are worth it” says Dr Basu

19 June 2015 | Peter Edwards

Research by Dr Subhajit Basu from the School of Law, University of Leeds, is being used to advise the government on reforming Adult Social care in Northern Ireland.

A multi-disciplinary research project was tasked by the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland (COPNI), Claire Keatinge. The Commissioner is now calling for the government to overhaul legislation to better support the changing needs of an ageing population.

Dr Basu and his co-investigators developed a set of recommendations for the future by reviewing current law and policy in Northern Ireland, and comparing findings with international good practice.

Dr Basu commented:

“We proposed the need to modernise Northern Ireland’s current adult social care and show older people are worth it.

One of our key recommendations was to implement a "Support Visit" for any interested person age 75 years or older, by an appropriately trained health and social care worker. The goal is to help individuals and family members anticipate needs in the event of functional impairment, thus reducing the need for crisis planning. This was also highlighted by the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland (COPNI) Claire Keatinge at formal launch.”

Findings from legislative review found:

  • Current legislation and policy guidance surrounding Adult Social Care is outdated, confusing and fragmented in Northern Ireland. Definitions and terminology used in the legislation need updated to fully reflect and meet the needs of modern society.
  • The effect of the out of date legislation and policy position is to disadvantage older people in both understanding what social care services are available to them and in terms of how to access these services.
  • Early intervention to assess need is key together with the provision of necessary support to enable older people to be fully involved in decisions about their future care needs.
  • A preventative type of “Support Visit”, similar to that currently offered in Scandinavia, to all over 75 year olds, would enable information and support to be shared and assessments conducted in a more controlled, proactive and consistent way.

The full report for the COPNI can be downloaded here.

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