Abuse in Care Homes
It is uncertain how many care homes have been shut down due to abuse from staff members. But if I find the correct amount, this will help my project entirely. My idea is to find out the estimate numbers of care homes that have been reported with abuse and use this number in my project. An idea for a future shoot is to take a portrait picture of one of my Grandparents, it being my Nan or my Granddad which doesn’t really make a difference. And use pins to pin onto the picture the amount of care homes that have been shut down. This will help my audience to identify how much of a serious issue it is that we are neglecting our old.
From The Telegraphs website, I’ve found out that more than 900 notices have been reported by the health watchdog in the past year, indicating that institutions could be closed or prosecuted without urgent action to improve standards. This doesn’t show the exact number of care homes being put down but it gives me an estimate.
The figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) show that the number of official warnings issued has risen by 43 per cent, from just over 600, in just one year. This is a number that I will work with because it will be the closest I will get to the exact amount. However this number isn’t down to just physical abuse from staff members, but it shows the accounts that have been made due to inspectors finding staff falsifying medical records and failing to investigate claims of abuse, while residents were put at risk from scalding water, and left in filthy and unheated.
There are many accounts that have been made from so many different care homes. The amount of 910 official warnings have been made which said that care was so poor it broke the legal requirements, these include.
• The residents of Oakhurst Nursing Home in Bradford were left in reportedly “extremely dirty” surroundings, with beds and chairs blackened by dirt, inspectors found in January. Pensioners were also placed at risk of scalding, with hot water running at more than 50C, and in rooms which were left unheated for at least two winters, with staff described as “cocky” and “punitive”.
• Elderly people were reportedly left to shout for help at West Cliff Hall care home in Southampton because call bells did not work. One pensioner needed an ambulance after falling to the floor after being left without help to get to the toilet, while another was left shouting after calling for help for 40 minutes, according to the notice, issued in February.
• Norton Hall Nursing Home in Worcester was warned over “filthy commodes, dirty bed rails and soiled mattresses”.
• Inspectors visiting The Limes 1 care home in Ely, Cambridgeshire found that seven separate allegations of physical abuse were never reported to the local safeguarding team.
• At Sunnyside Respite Centre in Rotherham, inspectors found staff had signed records to say medicine had been administered, when it had not. In other cases, staff pre-signed records saying the drugs were not needed, even before the dose was due.
• The owners of Willow Green Care Home in Darlington were forced to pay out £4,000 in December for unsafe management of medicines for elderly residents. Two unannounced inspections found residents were missing medication and being given drugs at the wrong times.
• At Coxwell Hall nursing home in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, inspectors said residents were not protected from the risk of abuse, with three cases in which unexplained injuries were not investigated.
The homes were ordered to make improvements, or face closure, and have since made some improvements, according to CQC inspections.
But inspectors issued a warning to Whitstable Nursing Home in Kent this month after finding the accommodation reeking of urine and residents ignored despite visible pain, with one who was left “black and blue” from repeated falls.
Ros Altmann, former Treasury adviser on older people, described the findings as “deeply worrying”.
“We are trying to provide care on the cheap, and as these shocking examples show, that can’t go on,”
Dr Altmann, now director general of Saga Group added: “We have a crisis in the care home sector, with staff on minimum wage pay delivering minimal care, rather than the decent and dignified care that people deserve”.
She claimed the catalogue of failings was reminiscent of the recent report into high mortality rates at 14 NHS hospitals, but even more significant, because residents in care homes were usually confined to them for the rest of their lives.
The CQC has been widely criticised for weak inspection methods, which are being overhauled from this autumn, which have allowed serious failings in care to go unchecked.
In July, former senior officials at CQC were accused of presiding over a cover-up over a maternity deaths scandal at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation trust, where up to 16 babies died.
The regulator had already been censured for failing to prevent abuse of people with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View, a home for people with learning difficulties, despite warnings from staff who tried to blow the whistle.
Details of the warning notices issued in response to “unacceptable care” were contained in the CQC’s 2012/13 annual report. It showed that 910 warning notices had been issued in the year ending in March – up from 638 the year before. Of these, 818 were in adult social care, meaning care homes and domiciliary care.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “The figures are worrying enough, but because of what we know about the failings of CQC we have every reason to fear that these are the tip of the iceberg. Every day our helplines get calls about absolutely appalling failings in care.”
She said she was “deeply concerned” about the standards of many care homes.
“I think we have got some very serious problems in many of our care homes where we have got the most vulnerable people unable to speak out, and frightened to, because it is their home.”
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said: “Older people and their families deserve to have confidence that the services they use will provide high quality care, yet clearly there is still a long way to go before this is the reality across the board.”
A spokesman for CQC said the watchdog was drawing up plans for a new “tougher more effective” approach to regulation in social care, which will go to public consultation rooms.
From these aspects it shows that the elderly are being neglected and there needs to be action made.