Intermediate care has become a buzzword within health and social care over the last few years. Seen as the panacea for a number of woes, particularly for older people, intermediate care has been held up as a way forward within contemporary health and social care.This text explores in detail what is understood by the concept of intermediate care and, in particular, ways in which the needs of older people can be best met by this new range of services. Initial discussion centres on the concept of intermediate care and the motives for its development. This is followed by a summary of the range of intermediate care services that have been developed, with a discussion of some of the confusion that surrounds the concept.The debate then moves on to centre on older people, discussing first why older people have come to be perceived as one of the main client groups that may benefit from intermediate care, and then how intermediate care could be developed to better serve their needs. An overview of ageing and the uniqueness of older people is then provided, followed by an exploration of some of the challenges faced by older people within society - and how this has extended into the delivery of health and social care.

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