Mind the Gap Between Health and Social Care
The Royal College of Occupational Therapy has warned Scottish NHS and local authorities to “mind the gap between health and social care”.
A new report released Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) calls on the NHS and Local Authorities in Scotland to refocus health and social care services. Unless there is a shift from a ‘high volume, low cost’ approach to care to one which sees the whole person’s overall wellbeing services will struggle to meet future demands.
In its report: ‘Living Not Existing: Putting Prevention at the Heart of Care for Older People in Scotland’ the RCOT seeks to show how doing the right thing for individuals can actually reduce their need for expensive care long-term. It calls for an end to the post code lottery in access to occupational therapy which is a barrier to people in need receiving high quality, person centred care that enables people to stay as active, independent and safe as possible.
Whilst it supports the Scottish Government’s 2020 vision, the report makes clear that it will take time to achieve and that there is a unique role for occupational therapy to help bridge the current gap between health and care services.
A film has also been released, alongside the report, allow viewers to ‘toggle’ between different realities of care. One reality shows what life can be like for many older people, as simply passive recipient of care. The other shows how occupational therapist involvement can result in the best, most person centred care that empowers the person.
In its report, the royal college, which represents 3,000 occupational therapists in Scotland and over 32,000 working across the health and social care sector in the UK, makes three recommendations:
- An end to the inequality of access to occupational therapy.
- More occupational therapists employed within primary care proactively helping older people adapt to aging, increasing frailty and health problems. This can delay, reduce or prevent the need forexpensive care and support.
- Occupational therapists to be employed to lead on the development of person and community centred services that care for older people’s overall health and wellbeing to ensure they can live active independent lives in their communities for as long as possible.