Tag Archives: The Independent

Care in the UK over two weeks in December 2012

1 December 2012: TENS of thousands of vulnerable people are being physically and mentally abused by the very people meant to be caring for them. Disturbing figures reveal that 130,000 adults were ill treated – usually at the hands of carers or family. Abuse most often took place in their own home or care home.  Read more here.

1 December 2012: Abuse of elderly patients by NHS staff rises by a third in one year with a  shocking 36,000 offences reported last year alone.  Read more here.

1 December 2012: Care home regulation criticised by Norman Lamb.  Regulation of the care sector is not fit for purpose, care minister Norman Lamb has said as he unveiled proposals on English care homes for consultation. He also said there was a “significant lack of corporate accountability for the quality of care”. One suggested measure involves companies having to open up their books to inspectors to ensure they are financially sound. Read more here.

1 December 2012: Care home companies could be forced to open books to prevent another ‘Southern Cross’ collapse.  Read more here.

4 December 2012: Care home job advertisements ‘encouraging’ criminals to apply.  Convicted criminals have been encouraged to apply for jobs in care homes looking after frail, elderly people.  Read more here.

4 December 2012: Ann Clwyd, Labour MP tells of inhumane treatment and says she fears normalisation of cruelty now rife among NHS nurses.  Ann Clwyd has said her biggest regret is that she didn’t “stand in the hospital corridor and scream” in protest at the “almost callous lack of care” with which nurses treated her husband as he lay dying in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.  Read more here.

4 December 2012: Melton Court care home to be closed by Friday. The manager of a South Yorkshire care home, which has been ordered to close by Friday, says she is in talks with two potential new providers. The 21 residents at Melton Court in Maltby have to find new homes, after it emerged the owner is in prison. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) revoked Ishtiaq Zahir’s licence and said the home is operating illegally.  Read more here.

5 December 2012: A PENSIONER with Alzheimer’s died after she plunged down a lift shaft when the door was left unsecured, a court heard yesterday. Annfield Plain company faces health and safety charges after tragedy.   Read more here.

5 December 2012: Wrexham – Concerns over care at mental health hospital.  Read more here.

6 December 2012: Leicester – Dementia sufferer ‘left in agony’ at George Hythe House care home in Beaumont Leys, court hears.  An 89-year-old dementia sufferer was left in agony for four hours with a broken thigh  because a care home supervisor could not be bothered to assess her, a   jury heard. Sarah Bewley was “too busy” doing paperwork to see the woman after she suffered a fall, despite several requests from a care assistant, it was claimed.  Read more here.  See below.

7 December 2012: Regulator moves closer to setting up ‘negative register’ of adult care staff.   If the proposals are approved by government, a national code of conduct would be applied to workforce and the HCPC would consider serious complaints made about individual professionals; any decisions to uphold a complaint would be made public, as would the resulting sanction.

A “negative register” would be maintained of those found unfit to practise.  Read more here.

7 December 2012:  Leicester – Jury clears Leicester care home boss of neglect charge.  After the not guilty verdict was announced, Judge Lynn Tayton QC said: “This case raises very worrying issues, particularly concerning systems that seemed to be in place which created a situation in which no-one took responsibility for the care of this lady.  “She was left in severe and unnecessary pain for a number of hours.”I hope those in charge of the home have looked at the systems and the staff training.” Read more here.

7 December 2012:   Chorley, Lancs – A care-home worker and her husband who subjected  their children to years of horrific abuse were facing jail yesterday after being  convicted of cruelty.  Read more here.
8 December 2012: Wolverhampton – An investigation has been launched into safeguarding at a care home, which helps people with mental health, drugs and alcohol problems.  Read more here.
8 December 2012: Derby – A national health watchdog has issued a damning report on a privately-run Derby care home.  The Care Quality Commission has told the company  that owns Cleeve Villas Nursing Home, in Wilson Street, to do more to protect the safety and welfare of residents – or face legal action.  Among the problems identified were:
  • No organised stock control system of medicines
  • Failure of staff to update crucial medical documents
  • Care plans reviews not completed on time
  • Failure to ensure prescribed medicines were always available
  • Medicine doses not being documented, meaning it was unclear whether medications had been administered
  • No appropriate systems in place for the safe disposal of medicines when they were no longer required.

Read more here.

Read the CQC report on Cleeve Villas here.

That list of failures is just the kind of thing most people don’t know about, so  awareness raised to the top is what we need in the world of care.

When it comes to the comment made by the spokeswoman for Cleeve Villas Care Services : “As a dedicated provider of care services, we at Cleeve Villas have taken on board the suggestions from CQC as to how to enhance our overall performance and have already taken steps working with a specialist healthcare consultancy to address these.”Our aim as always is to ensure the individual and complex needs of our residents are met.”

I don’t believe you.  Yet.  This is not the first CQC detailing same/similar problems.   What has taken you so long to show that you care enough to provide good quality care?

9 December 2012: Vulnerable care home residents are treated like “brutes or malfunctioning machines”, said Hilary Mantel, the author, as she spoke of the “utterly depressing” search to find accommodation for a disabled friend.  Read more here.

10 December 2012:  We haven’t a clue how much a care home will cost us.  The vexed question of how we pay for the care needs of Britain’s ageing population rears its ugly head so often that it is no wonder everyone thinks it is a pain in the neck.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Star ratings: Families need reliable information on care home performance.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Preventative care for elderly under threat.  Services have been cut or frozen by two-thirds of local councils since coalition came to power, according to ComRes study.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: A Birmingham care home is being investigated by council and health bosses amid  allegations of neglect.  Bramley Court Care Home, in School Road, Yardley Wood, is facing the probe  after a complaint was made about the standard of care given to elderly  residents. New admissions have been suspended while a joint investigation is carried out  by the city council and NHS Birmingham and Solihull.  It is not the first time the home has been in the spotlight over its  treatment of residents. In August a report by watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, found residents  were being put at risk of not receiving adequate food and drink.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Winterbourne View scandal prompts new care guidelinesReport warns that care sector risks slipping back into institutional culture typified by Victorian asylum system.

The report warns that, elsewhere, staffing cuts caused by reduced fees paid to care providers are causing residents to be left alone for hours at a time and are fostering excessive reliance on use of drugs and on physical restraint, “often for minor perceived misdemeanours”.

Brendan Sarsfield, Family Mosaic’s chief executive, said: “We would argue that if providers don’t believe this has ever happened in their services, it just may be that they haven’t looked hard enough.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Care home provider Family Mosaic has warned that the care sector is in danger of slipping back into the institutional ways of the past and is urging care providers “not to be complacent” and be vigilant for danger signs of abuse.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Winterbourne View scandal: Government rethinks use of hospitals.  Norman Lamb said “”We need to have a situation where people who run care organisations – public or private sector or voluntary – know that they are accountable for the services they provide and there are consequences if they don’t.”  You can’t argue with that so let’s home he brings about accountability.  Read more here.

12 December 2012: Copthorne, Sussex – Care home boss suspended over death of patient.  A care home manager has been suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council over allegations she shredded a document to cover up a mistake which led to the death of a resident. The resident of  Orchid View care home in Copthorne was given three times the prescribed dosage of Warfarin, a drug used to prevent blood clots, over 17 days in 2010. Read more here.

12 December 2012: Stockton care home boss denies a catalogue of failures.  Meal times at the home were “appallingly organised” and 15 out of 17 patients  lost weight over a one-month period, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.  Read more here.

12 December 2012: York care home warned to make urgent improvements.  The Care Quality Commission has issued a formal warning to Mimosa Healthcare (No 4) Limited, which is the registered provider of Birchlands Care Home, that they are failing to protect the safety and welfare of the people using the service.  Read more here.

12 December 2012: Wall Heath care home told to shape up or face enforcement action.  The Care Quality Commision (CQC) is demanding an improvement in the standards of care at Holbeche House after inspectors found failings during an unannounced visit in October.  The Wolverhampton Road home, which is run by Four Seasons (Bamford) Limited, was found to be below standards for the care and welfare of service users and assessing and monitoring the quality of services.  Andrea Gordon, deputy director of operations (central region) for CQC, said: “The law says these are the standards that everyone should be able to expect. Providers have a duty to ensure they are compliant.  Read more here.

12 December 2012: Nurse at Rodborough care home slept with vulnerable female patient and invited another to swingers’ parties. Trevor Rice, a senior triage mental health nurse at Park House Mental Health Resource Centre, was formally removed from his post by a Nursing and Midwifery Council disciplinary committee on November 23.   Read more here.

12 December 2012: A bungling nurse who was cleared to work in Sussex despite making a number of shocking errors is being investigated for a second time.   Nicanor Sindanum made national headlines after he was allowed to continue to work as a nurse despite being found guilty of 17 serious errors by a nursing panel while working in Scotland.   In June this year a nine-month banning order imposed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in September 2011 was revoked and replaced with conditions of practice order.  This meant that, despite his failings, Sindanum was allowed to start work for an Eastbourne care home so long as he told bosses that he had restrictions placed on him. But now it has emerged that Sindanum faces a second investigation for alleged failings dating from 2009.  Read more here.

13 December 2012: Slyne-with-Hest, Lancashire – Four people have been charged with offences under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 following a police investigation into the mistreatment of residents at a care home in Slyne.  Read more here.

13 December 2012: Wales – More should be done to reduce Wales’ reliance on using care homes as a way to look after older people, says a group of Assembly Members.  The assembly’s health committee has backed moves to help people keep their independence for as long as possible. Families need simple and accessible information about the options available for elderly relatives, it said. It pointed out that many elderly people who pay for their own care were unaware of the help available to them.  Read more here.

13 December 202: Panshanger, Welwyn, Herts -Massive arrogance’ jibe as ‘out of scale’ care home plans thrown out.  Read more here.

13 December 2012: Morpeth, Northumberland – Coroner hits out at care of woman in Morpeth home.  Mr Brown, recording a narrative verdict, yesterday concluded the fall “did  play a part” in Mrs McEwan’s death as the fractured femur caused immobility  which made her more susceptible to the fatal complaint. The coroner also found three serious failures in the care of Mrs McEwan.

He ruled senior carer Stephanie Wilson had left Mrs McEwan’s bed in an  elevated position, moments before she fell while trying to get into it.

Furthermore, Mr Brown said staff had failed by phoning a doctor’s surgery  instead of an ambulance after the fall, even though Mrs McEwan was in obvious  pain and in need of such care immediately.

Finally, the coroner said workers had been wrong to lift Mrs McEwan back on  the bed, saying they should have left her where she was comfortable until the  ambulance arrived.

Mr Brown nevertheless accepted that staff had been misguided and in need of  better training rather than motivated by malice.  Read more here.

13 December 2012: Croydon  – Are Croydon care homes up to the job of looking after borough’s most vulnerable?  Nearly a third of care homes in the south of the borough are failing patients and residents in one or more key standard, an Advertiser investigation has found.

Campaigners for better care say the findings paint a “dire” picture for sick and elderly people at a time when savings in care provision are set to be enforced.

Among those that are failing in one or more key standard are homes which charge elderly people up to £800 a week.

Stuart Routledge, chief executive of Age UK Croydon, said: “It is appalling that any nursing home should fail to protect the dignity and respect of their patients and residents.

“This survey underpins the urgency for social care funding reform so that those older people who struggle daily with chronic ill health, frailty and disability have the peace of mind that they will be well cared for at their time of need.

“In particular, this shows the dire consequences of a social care system that has been under increasing financial pressure over the last eight years and in many areas is now financially stripped to the bone.

“Staff across health and care services have a professional and moral duty to make sure the dignity of their patients and residents is enshrined in every action. This means involving people in decisions about their care, providing care that treats people with respect and helping people to be as independent possible.”

Read more here.

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The continuing story of the dire state of care homes for the elderly

Oliver Wright’s piece today in The IndependentDire state of care homes for the elderly is only going to get worse, says top inspector – has left me scratching my head. Some of the statements made by Dame Jo Williams, Chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), astonish me.

She seems to approve and accept without question, almost as a fait accompli, that ‘service providers’ will cut corners, will not provide suitably trained staff, will continue to scrape the barrel when it comes to staffing by paying the minimum wage.

One of the Essential Standards is that ‘you can expect to be cared for by qualified staff’.  So the CQC cannot allow service providers to cut that corner.

You can expect to be cared for by qualified staff

  • Your health and welfare needs are met by staff who are properly qualified.
  • There will always be enough members of staff available to keep you safe and meet your health and welfare needs.
  • You will be looked after by staff who are well managed and have the chance to develop and improve their skills.

She says that more needs to be done to recruit, train and retain good staff, but in the same breath she condones the fact that “many staff are already on the minimum wage so there are not many savings there”.

It is the function of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure that service providers don’t cut corners.  To ensure that staff are suitably selected and trained for the job they are required to do in care homes.

Dame Jo seems not to have made the connection between the appalling standards of care provided in some parts of the care home ‘industry’ and the ridiculously low wages paid to staff, resulting in problems with staff recruitment, retention, quality and loyalty.  The care ‘industry’ needs to pay a living wage, rather than a minimum wage, in order for things to improve.   Then Dame Jo might find that in the South-east the workforce might be less transitory.  Didn’t the Mayor of London set up a Living Wage Unit a while ago?  How on earth can anyone expect decent standards of care when little respect is shown for those who provide the hands-on day-in-day-out care?  If they are undervalued, they will undervalue the people they are serving.

If only the care  ‘industry’ cared enough to guarantee staff training – especially dementia training – and to make available a decent career path, the right quality of care could be found more often by those of us who have no choice but to arrange for our own older people to move into residential care.

Whose side are you on, Jo Williams?   Has the CQC become the Trade Union for Service Providers?  I read little of Dame Jo’s empathy for people in care paying an absolute fortune (to them) for sub-standard care.  The CQC is there to regulate and to guarantee that a good standard of quality care is provided to those vulnerable people who need care.  The CQC is there to ensure that the Essential Standards are met, without short-circuiting.  The CQC and the local authorities and the care home providers all need to be reminded of the fact that nobody moves into a care home unless and until they have to do so.  It’s not a flimsy lifestyle choice – it’s a necessity.  All care home residents deserve respect and deserve to be valued.  They must be at the centre of thinking.

Is Dame Jo Williams serious when she says “Quality in our terms is making sure a service is safe – but it is also about how you’re treated.  It’s about staff remembering your birthday, calling you by the right name and engaging with you as well as maintaining your dignity.”

A birthday comes but once a year.   The remaining 364 days of the year in care are equally important, if not even more important.   Calling you by the right name?  That’s not rocket science, so it should be fairly easy to instil that quality into the staff.  Of course dignity is essential, but it hasn’t been present in the world of care for far too long now, so forget the birthdays (the chances are there’s a piece of software that will ping out a birthday!) and concentrate on the quality of care.  That quality of care involves the setting, the building, the decor, the provision of good nutrition, medication, care planning, monitoring and supervision …. … to name but a few of the essentials of care.

She talks about “looking at those services that are risky and are likely to put the public at risk”.  It’s the residents who are at risk, not the general public.  I hate constant references to ‘services’ and ‘service users’ and ‘institutions’.  It de-personalises, it removes the person and the personal from the debate.  By all means use those terms in your own offices, if you really must, but remember the people first.  It’s almost as if the word ‘service user’ gives permission to the profession to forget that they are dealing with real people, people who have a lifetime of experiences, people who have contributed throughout their independent life.  And without whom we would not be here.

A person who moves into a residential care home becomes a resident.  They reside in their new home.

A person who provides care in a residential care home is a care provider, a provider of care.

Sort out the language of care, Dame Jo, then we might all be able to understand each other better.

But ‘nursing home’ seems to be creeping back into use, just to confuse us even more when trying to navigate the CQC website!  There used to be only two types of care homes: residential care homes (without nursing), and residential care homes (with nursing).  There are care homes with a nursing section/wing/unit/floor.  There are care homes with no nursing at all.  Some people talk of EMI homes.   Are they the same as care homes registered for dementia?  Are they nursing homes?

I’m intrigued by this security-services style software that she mentions.  Scanning the thousands of reports the Commission receives each month looking for ‘trigger words and anomalies’.  Anyone who has ever approached the CQC or its predecessor the CSCI – by phone, by letter or be email – to draw attention to a particular concern in a care setting will know only too well that software isn’t required.  The CQC just needs to listen, to note, to reflect and then to act promptly.  You don’t need software to alert you to problems.  That’s what we’re here for – real people.  All you need to do is to listen.

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Johann Hari’s plan to solve our care home crisis

Johann Hari, journalist and columnist at The Independent, has come up with a 10-point  manifesto to transform the shabby system of care of the elderly in place at present.

Very recently, he wrote an extremely moving account of the last ten years of his grandmother’s life in care, as she suffered atrocious treatment in various care homes.  His article – My grandmother deserved a better ending than this – was apparently the catalyst for the tsunami of emails he received from relatives of people in care homes and from care workers, all sharing their own experiences.

Today Hari cries out again in The Independent, with a list of proposals that some people may think are unnecessary, judging by some of the fatuous comments on his previous article.  But sadly, some of us know only too well how essential this manifesto is – and how long we have been waiting for it.

I do so hope that he will attract more attention than those of us who have been pleading for years now, begging the ‘authorities’ to take positive action to improve the care system.  But our cries were bootless.

Please listen, world, please listen now.  Trust us, believe us, listen to us, hear what we have to say and improve the system once and for all.

It’s not necessary for me to comment on the ten ‘Acts’ of Johann Hari’s plan.   But I applaud each and every one of them.  If I could add just one further point to your plan, Johann, it would be one single acronym for the care system to acknowledge and to live by:

HOT as in HONEST OPEN TRUTHFUL

Be honest – be open – be truthful. Because so far, our so-called care system has been far from HOT.  It has been frozen into inactivity.  Heartless, uncaring, and deaf.

I’ve tried to do my bit to improve some of the Acts too, as have so many people before and since.  I failed miserably in part, because the might of the local authority is great.  As is the might of the mental health care of older people team, able to engage and pay for massive amounts of legal advice when I challenged the shoddy standards of that particular mental health care of older people team, and their ‘convenient’ interpretation, use and abuse of the Mental Capacity Act.  (I’m still working on ‘others’ involved.)

That legal advice was all paid for from the public purse, of course.  The tax payer and the Council tax payer paid the price of that.  All to preserve the dignity and reputation of the local authority, the care home provider, the CQC/CSCI, and the reputation of all the other weasels involved.

My relative paid the ultimate price.

I would have preferred the ‘authorities’ to have spent that money on care, rather than on legal advice to protect their puffed-up selves – and to protect the puffed-up care provider.

Where were you then, Paul Burstow?  Neither you nor your predecessor was willing to listen then.  You are all there when it comes to talking about money and funding, but you’re strangely absent when it comes to the discussion of care standards and quality of care.

The CQC/CSCI is blind, deaf and toothless.

The policy in place to protect vulnerable adults from abuse carried the name ‘No secrets’ – but secrets is precisely what the authorities operate, preserve and protect.  In their own best interests – but not in the best interests of the vulnerable adults.

We should be ashamed that such a manifesto is necessary – but it is absolutely essential.  We are supposed to be civilised – but we are not.

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Sex and the senior citizen – in Germany!

A different kind of care for the older person is  emerging in Berlin, according to The Independent

Sex for the elderly facilities have been introduced at Artemis, Germany’s largest luxury “wellness” brothel, in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg, where seats have been installed in showers and clients’ changing rooms have been enlarged to accommodate wheelchairs.

 ‘Helpful personnel’ takes on a whole new meaning. 

The need to provide sex for the elderly has also been recognised by some German retirement homes. The woman director of a Berlin home, who did not want to be identified, said recently that she wanted to offer a “room for intimate encounters” in her establishment.

Memo to the Care Quality Commission: are you suitably equipped to carry out inspections?  Will you rely on self-assessments?  Would this be a requirement too far?

The Age of Enlightenment?

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The ordeals of care in the UK

After I blogged my letter to Santa, the festive holiday season came and went and I thought I’d try to calm down a little this year, and take things more gently.  Things were going well – and then, I listened to Radio 4’s Face the Facts on the exploitation of immigrant workers in the care sector in the UK.  An excellent programme presented by John Waite.

The workers are exploited by the dubious agencies and unregulated gangmasters who hire them, rip them off before they even arrive here, and provide their services to the care industry, where they work with many vulnerable older people in need of good quality care.  They are treated like slaves, have no complaints procedures to help them, have to put up with and shut up about that exploitation as they go about their work.

It sounds so very similar to the way in which the ‘care industry’ in this rich, so-called civilised country of ours, treats vulnerable older residents in care.   Those residents are treated badly too, with no complaints procedures to change the standards of care.  They too have to put up with and shut up about sub-standard care, because of similar fears to those voiced in the Face the Facts programme by some of the workers interviewed.

The care industry is allowed to exploit staff, by paying below minimum wage, with no contract of employment, no security, no job prospects, no training, no future, force them to work 50-60 hours a week, force them to work for four months without even one day off ….  How on earth can care workers working under those conditions provide good quality care?  It is impossible.

Nobody cares enough to make a difference.  To make it different.  To  change things for the better – once and for all and for always.

This weekend was supposed to be a peaceful, gentle, averagely average weekend.  But yesterday, I read Johann Hari’s article in the Independent about his experience of residential care during the 10 years he struggled to find decent care for his Grandmother.

Today’s Independent follows up with the news that Paul Burstow, Care Services Minister, has condemned the ordeal of Johann Hari’s Grandmother as ‘appalling’.  He now promises ‘new checks on elderly care’, says that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been given extra powers to crack down on poorly-run homes, and that he’s determined to tackle concerns over the use of antipsychotic drugs.  I respect Johann Hari, and I have no wish to add to his personal struggles.  But, my question to Paul Burstow would be: have you not been made aware of the far worse ordeals that some people have to go through in residential care homes?  Why has it taken you so long to comment?  Or is it just that most of us don’t get our stories published in the press?  We struggle on, trying to improve things – but nobody listens to us.

Burstow urged people with complaints about the treatment of relatives to ‘come forward’.

We have been doing that for years, Paul Burstow, but nobody has been willing to listen.  There is a limit to the number of doors we can all bang on, shouting ourselves hoarse, if nobody listens and acts once and for all.

Yes, I am feeling very angry at present – and that’s nothing unusual when it comes to thinking about the lack of care we allow to be provided to our older people.

In the Face the Facts programme, Martin Green  (Chief Executive of the English Community Care Association) representing 5000 care providers could scarcely bring himself to use the word ‘residents’ – he could only refer to care home residents as ‘they’.  According to Green, he justified the ‘expensive business’ and cost of residential care by explaining that ‘they’ get accommodation, ‘they’ get food, ‘they’ get specialist support, ‘they’ get a lot of activities.   Martin Green needs to visit a few care homes pronto!

In April 2009 Ed Davey Lib Dem MP was of the opinion that the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) remit should be extended to cover vulnerable care workers too and he even signed an Early Day Motion (EDM1366) along with 93 other MPs.  But now that he’s Minister for Employment Relations in the ConDemOlition, he’s changed his mind.

His Statement to Face the Facts: There are no current plans to extend the remit of the GLA and we certainly do not need more licensing to be introduced into sectors such as the care industry. The government has no intention of burdening the majority of companies who run a reputable business with an expensive licensing scheme. Transcript of the Face the Facts programme is available here.

Frank Ursell, chief executive officer of the Registered Nursing Home Association, has apparently warned that homes – which rely on council funding for around two-thirds of their income – could be forced to cut spending on staffing, food or activities because of the cash squeeze facing the sector. He said “People talk about quality but then they pay peanuts. What is it exactly that they expect?”

Is £1000 per week for dementia care in a care home ‘peanuts’?  No, I don’t think so, Frank Ursell.  It’s a fortune.   It represents the savings built up over a lifetime of hard graft by many of the older people in residential care.  I know what I’d like to do with some nuts, including yours Mr Ursell!

Frank Ursell represents the interests of care home owners; Martin Green represents the interests of small, medium and large care providers.  Now, remind me, please someone – who is it that represents the interests of older people in residential care?  How often are their interests paramount in the thinking of the care industry?

A while ago, a report was issued detailing the ‘average amount of contact time’ any resident of a care home could expect to meet.  I can’t find that report now, so I won’t quote a figure, but it was a pathetically low number of minutes per day.  (If anyone can point me in the direction of that Report, I’d be grateful.)

As for staffing levels: There are no legal standards that we can refer to – staffing levels are supposed to be adjusted to match and to meet the needs of the residents in care.  Note the words: ‘supposed to be adjusted’ – the reality is very different, and a skeleton staff is the norm.

As for activities: virtually non-existent in the majority of care homes.  Hence the TV is always on and blaring, even though the residents may not be watching or even wanting to watch day in, day out.

As for Paul Burstow, please show that you care.  Convert your hollow words into meaningful action.  The residents of care homes don’t have time to wait for you all to deliberate, to make promises that never come to fruition, to waffle on endlessly about how appalled you are.

Decisive action is required.  Immediately.  Actions speak louder than words, after all.

That will be the only way we will ever believe that you care.

The weekend begins now.

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