The cost of care

In a funny sort of way, it’s comforting to read this BBC report about a care home provider having just opened a brand new care home providing “en-suite rooms, a hair salon, a library, landscaped gardens and a private dining  room for special occasions”.  It’s even more comforting to learn that all rooms will be equipped with sensors to alert staff if someone falls or has stopped moving.  Tht doesn’t guarantee the staff will respond, of course.

Don’t stop reading yet – because it gets better by the line.

A 12-week induction training period – including dementia care –  for all staff, and that means all staff including the handyman.  Is that 5 days a week? No, surely not.  Is that one day a week for 12 weeks?  No, doubt it.  Is that one hour per week for 12 weeks?  Sounds more likely …. but as long as that  12-week induction training period remains undefined, it may sound great but it could grate later on.  So it could be as little and as meaningless as possible.  But affordable, as far as Anchor is concerned.

The staffing ratio is to be one carer to five residents, so that customers can be cared for the way Anchor wants them to be cared for.

Residents will be able to choose what they eat and when they eat it.  So presumably they will also be able to choose when they go to bed, rather than being treated like little children and made to undress and get ready for bed at 7 pm.

This is all designed for the so-called baby boomer, property rich generation, who will be self-funding their care for the foreseeable future.  Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor and head of the English Community Care Association, says: “They have higher expectations, they have grown up in a world with all the mod cons and been to hotel rooms with all the modern facilities.

“They will demand that for themselves and also their parents who are in the system now. It is about offering a wide range of services to cater for everyone’s needs.”

So, anyone who is not in that baby boomer, property rich generation will not be so comfortable, because they won’t get a look in once the trend moves towards luxury care homes for self-funders only.  Yet, they and their relatives also have high expections of the word ‘care’ and of the world of ‘care’.

Hang on a minute!  Wait a minute!  Shouldn’t the standards of care being offered in this brand new Anchor care home, West Hall, West Byfleet, be the standards of care that every single person needing care home care should be able to expect?

Or is it only to be made available to those paying £1425 per week?  There are already many care homes charging £1000 plus per week but not providing anything like that staffing ratio of 1:5.  I know of one care home where the staffing ratio in the nursing section was one RGN plus one brand-new healthcare assistant to 28 people in need of 24/7 nursing care – neither the RGN nor the healthcare assistant knew much about the word care, though.

This all sounds great, especially when you read that  West Hall care home was only built because Anchor could largely finance it itself through its reserves.

Reserves that have already had a fair old contribution from local authority funds.  An earlier BBC report told us that Surrey County Council paid about £2.5m in 2010 to healthcare providers for beds it did not use.  The authority said then that it was “worried” by the figure paid to health firms Anchor and Care UK but was working to renegotiate the contracts.  “Under the terms of the contracts, the council pays the companies for the use of  1,000 beds. Last year, about 10% of those beds were not needed.”

How long has this been going on?

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Filed under care homes, dementia care

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