Tag Archives: care home closures

Care homes ‘closed’ for poor standards remain open

And then another story flashes before my eyes.  BBC News brings the chilling words that Care homes ‘closed’ for poor standards remain open.

Failing care homes which were officially closed down have been allowed to continue operating.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) claimed 93 homes and agencies were shut in the past year due to poor ratings.

But a BBC investigation has found a dozen were still open under the same ownership.

The CQC admitted errors, but said it was determined to clamp down on providers where there is a risk of neglect or abuse.

In some cases the regulator had allowed homes to close and then reopen on the same day, if the home applied to do so, which they can under the current rules. Damning reports about their past records were then removed from the CQC’s website, so potential residents and their relatives could no longer read them.

The ‘regulator’, the CQC, sanctions the removal from its own website of damning reports about the past failings of care homes, and then allows those same so-called care homes to continue to operate.  I  had little faith in the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI).  I tried to find something that would allow me to place my trust in the Care Quality Commission (CQC).    My loyalty, faith and trust in one particular Care Provider went out of the window long ago, in spite of the repeated assertions that came my way that our experience was not the ‘norm’ for that care provider. They’re all in this together, to borrow a phrase.

BBC programme this evening File on 4 at 2000 is unlikely to restore my faith in this world of care.  Care Homes: When An Inspector Calls.

For those who read Private Eye – have a look at No. 1275 – page 29 – CQC no evil – care home closures.  Read how the CQC squirmed (same Eye, page 15 Letters) when found out.  And then go back to Eye no. 1274.  Sorry, I can’t post a link to it because it’s pay-to-view only.  Thank you, Private Eye!

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Norfolk County Council has a strange care plan

Strange headlines indeed from the world of care, highlighted  by  Adult Care Blog

The controversial one mentioned – Council-owned company could make cash from care homes – made me think of the recent Joint Consultation on NHS Continuing Healthcare for Adults that NHS Norfolk and NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney had planned for February to May 2010.  It  scared  many people, especially those caring at home for their severely disabled relatives in receipt of fully-funded NHS Continuing Healthcare.  The plan was to force into residential care anyone whose ‘package of care’ might cost more than 20% above the cost of a registered nursing home placement providing an equivalent care package. Public outrage, local protest groups emerged.  Voices were raised loud and clear – enough for the consultation process to be suspended in early March, but with a plan to recommence it later this year.

The Federation of Disabled People spoke, as did the Norfolk Coalition for Disabled People.    The Consultation ceased to exist.

A radical shake-up is planned by the Council now, with the possible closure of all those care homes – because they are not considered suitable!  Yet they were considered suitable by the NHS!  Or was the NHS plan to move people from their homes to the for-profit sector?  Hardly likely – care homes run by private care providers are rarely cost-effective, let alone care-effective.   Does NHS Norfolk ever talk to Norfolk County Council?  Seems not.

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Yvonne Hossack, Memory Lane, SPECAL, David Sheard, Delhi and Scotland – a mixed bag of goodies!

The London Marathon kept us occupied on what was a very wet Sunday morning here – only a virtual marathon, as watching and listening to it on TV is not the same as taking part, but I know my limitations!   The aims of all the fund-raising fun-runners, not to mention the challenges they set themselves on behalf of others, are always uplifting and positively encouraging.  So I thought I’d do some virtual searching for good news, especially good news about elderly care and dementia care, and I’ve managed to find a couple or three.

Solicitor  Yvonne Hossack, dubbed the Erin Brokovich of care homes, is  a candidate in the forthcoming General Election, standing for Stockton South as an Independent candidate. She has been a tireless campaigner over many years, striving to improve the lot of elderly people in care, and she has successfully fought care home closures.  There have been many attempts to silence her, but fortunately she refuses to abandon her strong belief that the elderly deserve decent care.   Nobody can argue with that.  Good luck, Yvonne.

Then I came across an old article about person-centred dementia care.  At first glance, it reads like a plug for Barchester Care Homes, but so much of it is the most basic common sense, it really does force you wonder why  such common sense is not always a feature of care homes.  So it’s good news that someone is hopefully putting in place person-centred dementia care.   A photograph album full of memories was the very first thing I put together for my own relative with dementia, when she first needed what I will call ‘a bit of support’.  I didn’t then put  name captions to the photographs, because she could name every single person and place, right back to 1930, even though she couldn’t remember whether she’d had her breakfast that day, or even what day it was.  Name captions were added to the pics when she went into residential care, so that the support workers would be able to use it with her.  That was my hope.  (If only!)

That article mentioned ‘Contented Dementia’  written by Oliver James, describing Penny Garner’s work with dementia and the SPECAL (Specialized Elderly Care for Alzheimer’s) approach to dementia care.  Again, much of that book is basic common sense and for a ‘beginner carer’ it gives encouragement and it reinforces many of the instincts you have to draw on, when trying to help and promote the well-being of a person with dementia.   The Alzheimer’s Society doesn’t approve of SPECAL, saying it ‘takes away choice and control from people with dementia, its ethos is counter to the Mental Capacity Act and it claims to offer the only alternative approach to caring when in fact it is one of a number of approaches‘.  When I read the book, soon after it was published,  I didn’t feel that it was claiming to offer the only approach – just one single approach.  (Why does the Alz Soc use the word ‘alternative’?  Alternative to what?)  The Alzheimer’s Society implies that SPECAL involves telling lies to people with dementia.  I’ve tried to work out where the ethos of SPECAL is counter to the Mental Capacity Act and I’m at a loss to understand the Alzheimer’s Society’s position, in spite of having read (several times now) the MCA cover to cover for various reasons.  Early in my own dealings with dementia, I realised that I was causing stress and distress to my dementia-sufferer if ever I corrected the ‘false beliefs’ that were expressed to me.  But if I went along with the flourish of ‘old memories’ as if they had happened yesterday, then the stress and distress was minimal.  It led to fewer tears, less confusion and more contentment.  QED: give it a go!

Back to my virtual hunting for good news:  I then came across David Sheard – more of that please!!  If every single care home, dementia-registered with the CQC, could be required to undergo (before receiving residents) the kind of training that David Sheard offers – what a difference that would make to dementia care.

I’ve been searching for good news on the dementia day care front.  Delhi is to have its own day care centre for Alzheimer’s – good news for India’s 6 million Alzheimer’s sufferers.  Staggering statistic.

And finally, from Scotland, news from the Dementia Services Development Centre –  which cheered me, for some reason.  Perhaps because I’ve not found anything similar elsewhere in the UK.

More  good-news-research to be done another day.

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