Published: 21/03/2002, Volume II2, No. 5797 Page 20

'Halfway home'(31 January) illustrates well many issues that need to be explored in more detail if the enthusiasm for intermediate care projects is to be maintained nationally.

It is clear from the article that such projects' rehabilitation aims will remain mere aspirations unless sufficient therapy resources are dedicated to them.

Otherwise we will have nursing homes with knobs on, not true rehabilitation units.

This issue has been explored in far greater depth by Steiner.

1Where active therapy programmes are required, they must follow a comprehensive assessment by appropriately qualified staff.

There is a great deal that staff in nursing or residential care can do to assist the recovery of older people, but we should not underestimate the support and training they require to reach even basic levels of competence and confidence.

It is time for greater debate between all professions so that national quality standards can be agreed for those assistants who work across the variety of intermediate care models.

Malcolm Philp Community rehabilitation team manager Rochdale

REFERENCE 1Steiner A. Intermediate care : more than 'a nursing thing'. Age and Ageing 2001; 30: 433-435.