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Protecting Our Parents: Safe from harm

Updated Monday, 14th April 2014

Meet three patients who, like half a million older adults in the UK each year, have been taken to hospital following a fall.

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Betty, patient, Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: BBC Betty

About the episode

Betty, Jim and Henry, like thousands of older people in the UK each year, are in hospital following a fall. They want to return home, but the challenge for the professionals is balancing their safety and independence.

There are more pensioners than children living in Britain. As the population gets older, increasing pressure is placed on a system, which, at times, is struggling to cope.

With unprecedented access to the NHS and social services' older adults care teams in Birmingham, Protecting Our Parents follows cases over a year from the perspective of the professionals, families and the elderly.

Betty has been living alone since the death of her husband four years ago. After her latest fall she lay undiscovered for 24 hours, but she is determined to return home. Her niece, doctors and social workers are worried that the cluttered state of her house is dangerous. They want her to accept help to put it straight, or move into respite care. But Betty fears this will compromise her independence.

After the death of his wife of 50 years, husband and main carer Jim, who suffers from dementia, was admitted to hospital. Despite having to return to an empty house, his family feels he would be happier in his own surroundings. The hospital team agree it is in his best interests.

While Henry is recovering, plans are made for his discharge. But his condition starts to deteriorate rapidly after contracting pneumonia in hospital.

This episode was first broadcast on BBC Two on Thursday 17th April 2014.




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