ABSTRACT

SOME elderly people must be cared for either temporarily or permanently outside their own homes because they are sick, and their illness is of such a character that they cannot be properly treated and nursed at home. But notions about what kind of illness requires hospitalization and the kind of treatment deemed appropriate for old people admitted to hospitals have changed very considerably in recent years. So much so that something of a new specialism, geriatric medicine, has emerged, and special geriatric units have been created in hospitals. Some members of the medical profession, including a number of those directly concerned with the medical care of the elderly, do not favour the development of geriatrics, but suggest rather that our need is 'to restore the study of the aged and chronic sick to the common stream of medical activity'.1 However that may be, certainly when health services were being reviewed after the War, it quickly became a matter of common agreement that a new approach was needed in treating the aged sick, and that some amelioration of conditions in infirmaries for the chronic sick was long overdue.