A culture of apathy in our care homes?
Healthwatch inspectors visited 197 care homes across England between January 2016 to April 2017. Whilst good practice was found it was also noted that staff were “rushed off their feet”. Residents are being dressed in other peoples clothes, accommodation can be filthy and access to doctors and dentists problematic. There was found to be a culture of apathy in care homes and 1 in 4 homes inspected in 2014 were deemed “unsafe”. One lady wanted to do regular exercises but was hoisted out of bed just once in five weeks. One home in Tyneside had a budget of just £50 per month for activities. Common problems include residents having to wait to go to the toilet and cleanliness problems.
If someone has dementia the Alzheimers Society Chief Executive (Jeremy Hughes) stated that just 1 in 3 are staff in homes have had dementia training and people were left in soiled beds and out of date food.
Independent Living owner (Mark Booker) commented “we take clients in care homes out and about. When visiting care homes we hear stories of staff shortages in particular and as a result residents having to wait for meals, toileting, dressing etc. I hear of people paying anything of £700 per week upwards to live in a home and you would think they could pay competitive staff pay rates to ensure they have adequate carers, fund Alzheimers training, and pay for activities to stimulate residents.”
Mark went onto say “I know some people’s health deteriorates, as is the case with dementia, and relatives such as an elderly spouse or son/daughter cannot cope making a residential home the only realistic option. However, for older people with reasonable health living at home with support services is most people’s preference as you have familiar surroundings and more control at what time you eat, shower etc.”