4. Engagement to Date
4.1 As we committed to in our Statement of Intent, we have engaged with a wide range of older people from a range of organisations and groups that support them, as well as individuals through a questionnaire which ran from September-November 2021.
4.2 Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, this engagement took place online. We recognise that this may have led to many older people being disengaged in this part of our engagement – however, this was the initial part of our engagement, and, as set out later, we will engage further on this consultation paper to ensure we get a wide range of views.
4.3 Many thanks to those organisations and groups who hosted online sessions so we could engage with older people.
4.4 During these sessions we listened and gathered views from attendees on the priorities set out in our Statement of Intent.
- Prevention. Staying physically and mentally active can make us more resilient as we age, reduce our risks of dementia, widen our social circle and help prevent falls. This can delay frailty, the stage at which we may become more at risk to illness and disability or become dependent on others for care. We need to get smarter at using our existing information to better anticipate those who may need additional support.
- Person Centred Care. Older people must lead the decision making around their care and treatment. They must be able to communicate what matters most to them and these wishes should be recorded, shared with relevant health and social care professionals and acted on. This will enable older people to receive their care, treatment and support in the way that they would prefer. It will ensure that everyone involved in the care and support of that individual is aware of these wishes and act together to support them.
- Home First Approach. Our health and social care services must reorganise themselves to better support people to live well and independently in their communities as they age. We will build upon our Hospital at Home and Care at Home services to ensure that they are available throughout Scotland. Hospital care should only occur when necessary and we need to ensure that a person's journey through hospital is seamless, with access to specialist care in a timely fashion.
- Integrated Health and Social Care. Supporting people to age well and live well requires a multidisciplinary or even multiagency response. We have integrated health and social care in Scotland but it is not delivered consistently. The independent Review of Adult Social Care paves the way for fundamental changes to our system and provides a roadmap for the future of care provision in Scotland. This ambitious reform will ensure delivery of a high quality, human rights based service that people need to age well and live well, whatever their circumstances.
- Dignity and Respect at End of Life. As people become older there is a growing awareness of mortality, yet this can be a difficult subject to talk about. We need to discuss issues around death and dying in an open and honest way, and support and encourage opportunities for these conversations. When people require end of life care, they must have access to high quality care, focussing on the physical, social psychological and spiritual dimensions of care. This care must be provided in a way that minimises harms whilst retaining dignity and humanity. We must also acknowledge and continue to support families through their bereavement, recognising that people grieve in different ways.
4.5 Views and opinions expressed during our engagement events have been used in the development of this consultation paper and the questions within it.
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