Oxfordshire Council's Arash Fatemian says 'too many' referred to care homes

Too many people are being sent to care homes "far too early", according to a county councillor.

Councillor Arash Fatemian made the comment about hospital referrals during an Oxfordshire County Council meeting to discuss budget cuts on Thursday.

Chris Witcher, from Age UK, said the percentage of people who go to care homes "much too quickly" as a result of hospital referrals was not high.

She said there are more people in care that need 24-hour care than do not.

"They have things like dementia or Alzheimer's and it's not safe for them to continue living at home," said Mrs Witcher, from the charity's Oxfordshire branch.

Home support

The council said 67% of men and 85% of women will need care as they get older and added the total number of people going into care homes increased by 23% in 2012.

It now wants to offer better care to people in their own homes and said its long-term aim was to provide more than 900 extra care housing places in Oxfordshire.

"Extra care housing facilities mean that people can continue to have their own homes and take advantage of extra help when they need it," said Mr Fatemian, cabinet member for adult services.

"The vast majority of people want to live independently for as long as possible."

The authority said it was also looking to "develop and invest" in other services which would enable people to live in their own homes, including those designed to prevent illness and dependency, and rehabilitative services for people coming out of hospital.

Mrs Witcher said it was "good news" the council was looking to provide more support in people's homes.

"We should try to keep people in their own homes for as long as possible and residential care should be a last resort," she added.

"But providing care to people in their own homes also has high costs."

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