Sunday, June 2, 2013

Old age and the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Anand Grover

 One of the most important rights in old age in the right to health.
In 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur "on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health," Anand Grover, published his report regarding his findings on this rights.
The full report can be found in the following link:

Here are the conclusion and recommendation of this report:

V. Conclusions and recommendations
70. In a report of this length, it is impossible to address all of the important issues,
but the Special Rapporteur notes with urgency the present demographic changes
leading to a rapidly increasing number of older persons. Society should move beyond
seeking simply healthy ageing for its citizens, and begin working towards active and
dignified ageing, which should be planned and supported just like any other stage of
the individual’s life course. Planning for old age implies putting in place diagnostic and
prevention services at the primary healthcare level long before ageing sets in. The
pursuit of active and dignified ageing for older persons requires re-framing society’s
concept of ageing to focus on the continued participation of older persons in social,
economic, cultural and civic affairs, as well as their continuous contributions to society
longer into their lives. The promotion and protection of the human rights of older
persons should be of concern to everyone because ageing is a process which everyone
will undergo. Older persons are especially vulnerable as a group because of
stereotyped perceptions of the group as a “lapsed” segment of society. However, as life
expectancy increases and medicine improves, older persons stay active longer than
ever before, both in terms of occupational and non-occupational activities.
Encouraging older persons to remain physically, politically, socially and economically
active for as long as possible will benefit not only the individual, but also the society as
a whole.

71. The Special Rapporteur recommends:
(a) Recognizing ageing as a lifelong process, a reality which State policy,
legislation and resource allocation should reflect so that health-care services,
including diagnostic and prevention services, are available and accessible to a person
before becoming old to allow for healthy ageing;
(b) Ensuring that the right to the highest attainable standard of health
shapes, and is integrated into, relevant national and international policies concerning
ageing and older persons. Health facilities, goods and services should be made
available, accessible, affordable and acceptable to older persons, and be of good
(c) Implementing the right-to-health framework to ensure shifting the
discourse surrounding older persons from a needs-based perspective to a rights-based
approach, which enables greater realization of the right to health of older persons;
(d) Encouraging the establishment and support of networks of older persons
in order to ensure their participation in the development and improvement of social
protection and health care, which recognizes and ensures the enjoyment of the right to
(e) Establishing a system of social protection that affords older persons
access to long-term care, whether institutional or home-based, which ensures that
abuse or violations of rights do not take place;
(f) Putting in place policies and procedures for reporting, addressing and
preventing abuse of older persons;
(g) Instituting mechanisms to raise awareness and train medical
professionals, non-medical carers and the wider community on the treatment of older
person, and to prevent and address their abuse;
(h) Developing international guidelines and national systems to regulate and
monitor hospice-care practices to ensure that the elderly are supported in making
A/HRC/18/3719 informed health-care decisions, and that their human dignity and autonomy are not
neglected due to their vulnerability
(i) Establishing and implementing safeguards to ensure that free and
informed consent is required for any treatment and/or other medical intervention and
that this is guaranteed for all patients, no matter their age, condition and treatment
(j) Developing and implementing mechanisms to protect the rights of older
persons if/when they are deemed incapable of providing informed consent to any
treatment and/or other medical intervention due to injury, disease or chronic
conditions such as dementia.