Category Archives: suffering

Why I despise the so-called system of care for vulnerable people

I’ve been fairly controlled over recent weeks, months or even years.  I suppose I’ve been waiting and hoping for a chink of light to emerge, for a culture change to emerge, for a way forward to emerge in the so-called system of care that we have allowed to be in place.

However, I am reaching screaming point.  Hardly surprising.  When someone is destroyed because of absent systems of protection, and when it then takes almost 5 years to work your way through to a full understanding of why the so-callled system of care for vulnerable people fails to provide decent care so very often – that’s when you reach screaming point.

Time and time again, the CQC comes up with yet another report as it did today, with a report into the ‘care’ afforded to people with learning disabilities.  Or rather the lack of  care.  I’ve read it all, but there’s not much hope for real change.

Week and month after week and month, our government comes up with …… not one single plan to improve things.

Year after year, the same old same old same old gets published in the press, reported on radio, featured on TV.

Still nothing changes, so I need to scream now.  It won’t change anything – but it may just help me to scream.

[Next section of this particular blog post: Deleted temporarily pending the return of sense to the world of care.]

Therewith, I will leave this one for today.  But not for long.

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Filed under abuse, accountability, care, care homes, Care UK, dementia care, Islington, justice, liability, Local Authority, neglect, nursing, personal responsibility, professional responsibility, suffering

NMC hearings schedules – aka close to Care in the UK

I omitted to post this :  NMC Hearings Schedule – 6th to 17th February 2012 – at Euston House, London.

All in the best interests of Care in the UK.

More later, but click here for the charges.  Same as above link – but I wouldn’t want anyone to miss it.

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Filed under abuse, care, care homes, Care UK, dementia, dementia care, Islington, justice, liability, Local Authority, nursing, personal responsibility, professional responsibility, suffering

Appeal court ruling clears way for councils to cut social care services

This Appeal Court ruling – reported here in The Guardian –  scares the hell out of me.  If this is called ‘care’ then show me the way to go home!  I’m tired of what we now perceive as being a caring way to provide care.

Local councils have been given the green light by the courts to cut social care services to elderly and disabled people previously assessed by law as needing them.

In a test case involving care support for a woman who was one of Britain’s leading ballerinas, the appeal court ruled that Kensington and Chelsea council in west London acted lawfully and reasonably in withdrawing some services to save money.

The judgment could affect services to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable adults, including care at home, meals-on-wheels, escorted transport and places at day centres.

Luke Clements, professor of law at Cardiff University and a leading expert on care legislation, described the judgment as “chilling”. He said: “There are two problems with this approach: one, a narrow legal one and the other that it is an indictment of any society that lays claim to be civilised.”

We should take no comfort from this cost-cutting undignified uncaring careless care.  If we do, then we have definitely lost any way to claim to be civilised.

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The Patient Resident deserves better care

If, as I suspect, the Comprehensive Spending Review allows the growth of independent care providers, my plea to everyone involved, in a professional or personal capacity, is to keep on demanding quality care.  Shout loudly and clearly, with the emphasis on the words quality care.  Until, that is, we achieve a standard of domiciliary care and residential care that we can be proud to call care.  Then keep a watchful eye.

The case of Jamie Merrett 37-year-old tetraplegic patient, who suffered brain damage when his ventilator was switched off by mistake at his home in Devizes, Wiltshire last year, is disturbing on many levels.  Sadly, there are numerous others who suffer the consequences of equally appalling care.

The Nursing & Midwifery Council code Standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives requires a registered nurse to ‘recognise and work within the limits’ of his/her competence. As far as I’m aware, that includes agency nurses as well.

Both Violetta Aylward and Ambition 24hours (the agency that provided her services to Jamie Merrett) share the responsibility for their actions.   I just hope that Ambition 24hours does not escape suitable punishment.   ‘One of the leading UK nursing agencies, Ambition 24hours, part of the A24Group, specialises in the provision of specialist nursing jobs for registered nurses and healthcare assistants for both temporary and permanent placement within NHS Trusts, private hospitals, nursing and residential homes, HMP Prison services, mental health and learning disability environments’.

Ambition 24hours needs to revise its ambition and to make care and control of itself its Number 1 ambition.  Only then should Ambition 24hours be given the right to provide care to vulnerable people.

It is not unknown for care home nurses/agency nurses/care workers to be well aware of the fact that their manager is making demands of them to carry out duties for which they are unqualified, untrained and unsupervised. The culture of care is such that they carry on regardless. The Patient Resident suffers the consequences – and perhaps dies as a result.

Then, everyone sticks together with the kind of superglue that takes years to dissolve. That’s what creates the foul smell of the ‘for profit’ culture – if you will forgive my language.

The nurse is protected by the manager or agency; the manager’s protected by the care provider’s regional manager; the regional manager’s protected by the care provider; the local authority’s ‘bed manager’ is protected by the commissioning department; the local authority’s protected by the LGO; they’re all protected by CQC – and so it goes on. Every single one of them has another layer of protection.

All except The Patient Resident, that is, and The Patient Resident has no layer of protection at all.  By the time the superglue comes out to cement all the guilty layers, The Patient Resident is beyond protection.  Too late did they all care.  Too late for The Patient Resident.

It’s only if you have the inner strength to spend 3 years or more, peeling away each of the layers that you discover the root cause. Nobody cared enough to ensure that each and every single layer was fit for purpose.

A for-profit multinational care provider or agency can import care workers from abroad who have only a minimal command of the language of those they are to provide care to, little knowledge of our health and social care systems, little incentive to go that extra mile. They have no job security, are paid a minimum wage, dare not speak the word abuse or neglect – they too are abused.

Unless, like John Adeleye, former dementia care worker/care home activity co-ordinator – recently departed from X Factor – the good publicity for his for-profit care provider former employer suddenly causes the care provider to care about him.  I hope he received a fat bonus from his former employer, Care UK, or at least a golden handshake for the good publicity he gave.

Care home charges are sky high for The Patient Resident. The Patient Resident is in need of care, so places their trust in the word ‘care’.  Neither The Patient Resident, nor his/her family, can possibly know the ins and outs of the care industry, at the very moment when they are looking for quality care.  It is only after a tragedy that the real truth emerges.  There was no such thing as care able to be provided.  But nobody noticed.  Nobody cared enough to notice.

Today, I’ve been reading about this new initiative called the Dementia Action Alliance made up of over 40 organisations committed to transforming the quality of life of people living with dementia in the UK and the millions of people who care for them.  Signatories to the Declaration have published their own Action Plans setting out what they each will do to secure these outcomes and improve the quality of life of people with dementia by 2014.

Why should it take you all that long?  Dementia’s been around for a century now, or rather it’s over a century since one form of dementia was given the name Alzheimer’s by Alois Alzheimer.  This troublesome elderly population has been growing older by the day for best part of a century too.   Get a move on!!

It’s interesting to note how many care providers are promising to provide the kind of care we all thought they were supposed to have been providing for years now!    Care UK even has the nerve to write into its own action plan: Whilst training has been recognised nationally as a key driver in achieving improved standards of care and delivery of care that is outcome focused, there is limited funding available to deliver this training – well, I could suggest a source of funding to you.  Have a look into your own company’s profits.    Have a look at all the profit you must have made from ‘cutting corners’ here and there and … round the corner.  Or even take a few of the £millions of compensation you have pulled in from the numerous contracts you failed to deliver, but for which you had negotiated 25-year contracts.  You’ll probably get more compensation from this latest one in Newcastle.

The Department of Health (DoH) and several care home groups have promised to reduce the use of anti-psychotic drugs to subdue dementia sufferers.  The use of ‘chemical cosh’ drugs for dementia patients will be cut and sufferers kept out of hospital beds, an unprecedented coalition of 45 organisations has pledged.  Please don’t leave that until 2014 too.

GET A MOVE ON!!!!

The Patient Resident and The Patient Resident’s family may not have the time to wait for you all to get a move on!!!!

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Filed under care, care fees, care homes, Care UK, dementia care, domiciliary homecare, growing older, Local Authority, NHS, suffering

Trading Standards care about goldfish – who cares about the elderly?

Common sense ruled, and Joan Higgins, aged 66,  no longer has to wear a tag like a criminal.  Her son, Mark, no longer has to carry out community service.  Partners in the crime of selling a goldfish – valued at £1.50 –  to a child aged under 16.  Mrs Higgins was entrapped by trading standards officers who staged an undercover sting at her pet shop. They were also accused of causing unnecessary suffering to a cockatiel at the shop by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment.

Charged under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, they both pleaded guilty. Mrs Higgins  was required to observe a curfew from 7pm to 6am, hence the electronic tag.   Her son was ordered to carry out 120 hours’ community service.

Following an outcry, they returned to court where Judge Smith quashed the curfew on Mrs Higgins, as well as the community service order on her son because of his poor health. Instead he imposed a 12-month conditional discharge on both, describing the punishment as ‘inappropriate’ for ‘a respectable lady with no previous convictions’.

So-called professional care workers in a careless Care UK care home neglect a very respectable, gentle 80-year old lady to such an extent that she died as a result of their sub-standard care.   She was a solidly reliable, law-abiding citizen and never harmed a goldfish or a cockatiel in her life.   Her value far exceeded any number of goldfish or cockatiels.   The local authority carries out an investigation.  Irresponsible staff are ‘allowed to resign’.  The ‘dust-collectors’ are despatched en masse to the care home to suck up every single speck of dirt they can possibly find.  All behind closed doors – in secret, concealed and filed away.

A Trading Standards Department for Elderly Care would have resulted in a few people being charged with causing ‘unnecessary suffering‘ to an elderly person ‘by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment‘.  We have the Human Rights Act, but where’s the Human Welfare Act when you need it?  Where are the rights of a dead person’s family to be given the full information they need to evaluate all the circumstances of the neglect their relative suffered?  How low can a local authority sink?  Self-preservation at all costs seems to be their motto.  The same could be said for one of the biggest care providers in England.

All will be revealed.  In the public interest, and in the name of caring care for the elderly.

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