Dementia is being avoided in NHS and social care

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7336.548/a (Published 02 March 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:548
  1. Alastair Macdonald (alastair.macdonald@kcl.ac.uk), professor of old age psychiatry,
  2. Tom Dening (Tom.dening@addenbrookes.nhs.uk), consultant psychiatrist
  1. King's College, London, Division of Psychiatry and Psychology, Guy's, King's and St Thomas's Hospitals, Lewisham Hospital, London SE13 6LH
  2. Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridge CB1 5EF

    EDITOR—Older people requiring residential care are being classified according to a taxonomy that has existed, in custom and practice, since the National Assistance Act 1948. A minority of care homes and nursing homes is designated for elderly mentally infirm people; most are for people who are not elderly mentally infirm, or, in the case of nursing homes, for frail elderly people. The term “elderly mentally infirm” is undefined and extraordinarily plastic. It is sometimes limited to people with dementia, sometimes extended to other mental illnesses.

    Homes …

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