London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Hornsey 1958

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hornsey, Borough of]

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staff. In some cases several visits had to be made to one person to help
them with their special needs.
The visitors work about 4 hours daily, and the whole of the Borough
is covered. Their calls give much relief and pleasure to the aged, and
problems such as supply of clothing can be dealt with through the clothing
store operated by the Women's Voluntary Service in Crouch End. The
W.V.S. "Meals-on-Wheels" Service also assists many aged people living
alone, or with relatives out all day, to receive a good meal several times
Thirty-three aged people were found places in small private Homes at
a reasonable charge. These are mainly old people who are not considered
suitable for a large Welfare Home, and who were not in need of
hospital care.
Many elderly people suffer from foot troubles, and a chiropody service
is of great value. The house-bound cases are aided by the Almeric Paget
Trust, and 310 aged persons were able to pay personal visits to receive
attention to their feet.
The Welfare Council were able to supply five wheel-chairs, given by
friends, to assist housebound aged persons to get around to some extent.
Commodes, medical requisites, back rests, mackintosh sheets and beds
and bedding for incontinent old people were also supplied during the
year. Some furniture and wireless sets (all gifts from the residents of the
Borough) were also given to persons in need.
The Welfare Council is able to help with shopping for old people who
cannot go out in severe weather, and also acts as escort to and from
Two hundred elderly pensioners were given two weeks holiday at
the seaside for a very small charge. The Hornsey Borough Council
generously donate the major cost of this very real benefit to the elderly.
Each day some 25 persons call at the office—their problems are varied
and many. Close contact is maintained between the local doctors, hospital
almoners and the health department of the Borough. It is usual for hospital
almoners to contact the office when an old person is about to be discharged
from hospital. This is very necessary if the patient is living alone.
The staff undertake to see that a fire is made up, the bed aired, neighbours
contacted, and some shopping laid in before the old person returns.
They also deal with any special requirements for special meals if a diet
is necessary.
Many of the old folk are able to cope with life fairly well, but difficult
and sad cases do arise, and the Old People's Welfare Council deal with these
with sympathy and efficiency. Two typical cases of this kind from last
year's records are:—
(I) A lady aged 80, who was brought to notice by neighbours, who
stated she was very ill, but would be a difficult person to talk to. It was
found that the old lady was living in a damp, dark basement room, lying
on a filthy bed, covered by old coats. The room was bitterly cold, no
food was to be seen, and mice were running about the floor. The old