Ageing well and improving health and care services for older people

Better healthcare and living standards mean more people are living longer. When the NHS was founded 70 years ago, people lived an average of five years beyond the state retirement age. Even with a higher pensionable age, that average is now 15 years. We need to support older people to stay healthy, active and independent for as long as possible.

All NHS and social care statutory partners in Birmingham and Solihull have signed up to a joint vision under the Birmingham and Solihull STP’s Ageing Well and Later Life portfolio. The portfolio is focussed on helping people to age well and on improving health and care services for older people.

Older people will stay healthy, active, independent and with meaningful engagement for as long as possible.

This will happen through steps described in:

  • Solihull Together plans for older people – covers a number of projects including OPAL, SupportUHome and Falls
  • Birmingham Older People’s Programme – covers Prevention, Early Intervention & Ongoing personalised Support
  • End of Life programme – a joint Birmingham and Solihull programme covering end of life for all ages

To deliver on this priority, we will, for example:

  • Develop and oversee the implementation of Ageing Well strategies – one for Birmingham and one for Solihull. This will support people to manage their own health, wellbeing and social participation. We will establish multidisciplinary teams to remove barriers in the care system that cause delays when people need care urgently. This will be accessible at the ‘front door’ of hospitals seven days a week to avoid unnecessary hospitalisation and promote the ‘home first’ ethos
  • Recognise the vital role that 135,000 unpaid carers play across Birmingham and Solihull, by establishing a ‘Carers’ Commitment’ to help them access the support that they need
Creating a better experience at the end of life

When someone reaches the end of their life, most people would prefer to die in their own home with their family around them, rather than in unfamiliar or overly medicalised surroundings. Yet hospital remains the most common place of death and the amount of time people at the end of life spend in hospital in their last year of life is greater in Birmingham and Solihull than the national average. Emergency attendance and admission to hospital often peaks in the month before death. This is rarely what people want and is a costly use of resources. To deliver on this priority, we will:

  • Focus at all times on the person and their wishes, promoting living wills, adopting ‘Respect Forms’ and using technology to ensure they are known and adhered to wherever an individual enters the health and care system
  • Support those caring for people at the end of their lives, whether they are professionals or family members, so that they can do so confidently, with the ability to access practical and emotional support when needed