The health needs of elderly people in care homes are being met “poorly”, experts have warned.
More must be done to ensure that residents have access to high-quality healthcare, the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) said.
Around 400,000 older people live in care homes across the UK and healthcare providers must ensure that they are not ignoring the needs of this “frail and vulnerable” group of people, the society said.
Issuing new guidance for healthcare commissioners, the BGS said there is “no reason” why older care home residents should be missing out on the best care.
The BGS said that the needs of residents must be met from a “co-ordinated input” from GPs, specialists, social care workers and care home staff.
Services should be “shaped to suit patients” and they should have “reliable” access to familiar health professionals, the guide says.
Among other recommendations, the society - which represents specialists who care for elderly patients - also said there should be regular scheduled visits to the home from a GP or specialist nurse and advanced planning for health emergencies.
The guidance states: “Standard healthcare provision meets their needs poorly, but well-tailored services can make a significant difference”.
BGS spokesman Professor Finbarr Martin said: “There is no reason why older care home residents should be missing out on high-quality healthcare.
“The NHS can play an important role in supporting care home staff to ensure that older residents have a better quality of life. The evidence shows that health care services can be designed to deliver better care.
“Those responsible for planning what health services are needed locally must take notice of this evidence and ensure that they are not ignoring the needs and rights of this frail and vulnerable patient group.
“Commissioners and health service planners must involve representatives from the care home sector early on when considering what services need to be considered for older residents. This is more likely to ensure that services are designed appropriately and are sustainable.”