Elderly 'suffer from poor home care'

 

Pensioner: "Some carers are poorly trained and do not have enough time"

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A quarter of home-care services provided to the elderly in England are failing to meet quality and safety standards, inspectors say.

More than 700,000 people above the age of 65 rely on home help for activities such as washing, dressing and eating.

But the Care Quality Commission found evidence of rushed appointments and botched assessments during its review of 250 services.

Campaigners said it was a sign of how much pressure the system was under.

On Monday, ministers announced plans for a £75,000 cap on the amount the elderly will have to pay for social care in England - only the poorest get it free.

The proposal aims to stop the elderly having to sell their homes to pay for care.

But the move will do nothing to get extra money into the system, something the sector believes is vital if the quality of services is going to be improved.

'Significant impact'

Home help services are considered essential in keeping people out of more expensive care homes.

Alan Rosenbach, Care Quality Commission: "Responsibility with provider"

The numbers getting help is pretty evenly split between self-funders and those who get council-funded care.

This review looked at the support being provided to both - and found too many were struggling to maintain standards.

A total of 26% failed on at least one standard.

One of the most common issues identified related to late, rushed or missed visits.

The regulator also highlighted assessments that had missed vital information, such as a diagnosis of diabetes, and care records that were incomplete, meaning problems such as pressure ulcers could be missed by carers.

Concerns were also raised about the way services were monitored and complaints handled.

The regulator said home care providers, many of which are private companies, needed to work closely with local authorities to remedy the problems.

It warned the problems identified could have a "significant impact" on the elderly, many of whom did not complain because of a fear of reprisals or loyalty to their carer.

The findings come after reports by both the consumer group Which? and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have criticised home care in the past 18 months.

Case study

David - who is in his late 70s and suffers with a severe neurological condition - has experienced both sides of the system in England.

He says some carers have been exceptional and really helped him.

But he adds others have been poorly trained and in too much of a hurry - and that has been detrimental.

"They don't understand my medical condition," he says.

"Because they want to get the job done fast this is where the system falls apart."

Michelle Mitchell, of Age UK, said: "There must be a zero-tolerance attitude to poor, neglectful care."

The UK Homecare Association said it was pleasing the majority were meeting all the standards but said the sector was "not complacent" about the minority that were not.

A spokesman said some of the problems related to councils squeezing the amount of time they were willing to fund for visits.

Councillor David Rogers, of the Local Government Association, said were trying to "stamp out poor performance".

But he added: "As this report highlights, even the very best efforts of councils are not enough to avert the real and growing crisis we are facing in ensuring older people receive the care they deserve. The stark reality is that the current care system is underfunded and not fit for purpose."

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 72.

    Everyone talks about how old people have earned the right to care, that they worked all their lives but no one mentions the fact that they also heavily invested in something else....their children! It seems like it's always the bankers fault, private business fault, councils fault, societies fault, etc. I took care of my grandparents as a kid and young man and was there when they died.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 71.

    On one hand you have an army of people like Mick and Mairead Philpott creaming thousands a month from the state for doing nothing other than having kids for extra benefits & on the other you have the old who went through the war saved, paid their stamp worked hard and played by the rules yet they get left to rot because the hangers on and their prodigy are sucking the system increasingly dry.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 70.

    It pains me when i read/hear about the elderly in this country? Where are their children/relatives? We claim to be a caring society, but their is no evidence to this. Children show no love to their parents by believing the state/care home onwers should care for their parents, is quite absurd. Why cant peopl hav their elderly parents living with them? Where has the love gone to? Such a real shame

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 69.

    #61 - James, if this is 'not work due money', how do the ones doing the duty pay their bills? No-one gets let off utility bills, food shopping bills and council tax because they're doing their duty.
    Or maybe you've just never had to care for someone who's in a bad way>

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 68.

    I can't help thinking if elderly people who can no longer look after themselves sold their houses (but only if we could also prevent those houses being snapped up by BTL parasites), more of us would be able to afford to do productive work and create the wealth to properly care for those who need it.

    Home care has to be the absolute worst case in terms of efficiency and transparency.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -16

    Comment number 66.

    This is really bad news, we desperately need to tempt old people out of the homes they are so selfishly hoarding. Such headlines do nothing to help us on the road to that necessary goal.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 65.

    This is what happens when the elderly are regarded as a product to be processed.

    To the faceless council officials who make these decisions and the private sector care agencies who price their care accordingly - Would you be satisfied with this level of care for yourself or your loved one?

    If not then why be satisfied with it for others?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 64.

    Unfortunately looking after the elderly has degenerated into yet another market for corporates to milk.

    The end-user is charged high rates; the govt (ie tax-payer) and the public picks up the tab; workers are paid low rates whilst management and directors make big bucks.

    Whether you are interested in politics or not this is the epitome of Thatcherite and Blairite capitalism.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 63.

    Here is an idea: A family member could move in and provide loving care for granny in her own home.

    Oops, I forgot. The government said granny was not allowed to have a spare room.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 62.

    How many more stories are we going to see like this before the government finally realises that making cuts will not solve our economic problems and all it does it cause suffering? Even President Obama has said that making cuts is not the answer.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    Strange that this 'work' is done for free for ourselves or children, yet most or many seem to fail to do it for our own elderly, who looked after us when we were too small to do so for ourselves. The uncaring society has nothing to do with government or politics, it is we the people treating our elderly with disregard. This is not work due money, it is duty to others.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 60.

    I know of a lot of people who are home carers. They take the role when there are no other jobs available. They often visit the same people a few times a day but don't get paid for the time in between calls, spent travelling to the next person.

    We need a public network of qualified and well paid home carers who are dedicated to the job, not this rip off private system we have now.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 59.

    A big problem with the care industry (private as well as the likes of the NHS) is that it is increasingly employing people (from top to bottom) whose number one priority isn't to care about patients. Hardly surprising when successive governments for the last 25 years have been concerned with only one thing - targets.

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 58.

    Care for the elderly should be robotized as much as possible to provide consistent care. Government should look at the technology being developed in Japan and south Korea.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 57.

    Rigid care plans brought in to protect the agencies from litigation are often the main problem. Some local authorities supply hoists, special beds etc if you are prepared/able to take on the system. Approach occupational therapists at hospitals directly if your GP is clueless - having the right equipment eases the burden tremendously. Sadly you have to work the system it won't just happen.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 56.

    The care in Residential Homes where most of us are liable to end up can be dreadful. The care and nursing for the elderly should be taken out of the hands of the private sector who are making a fortune out of it. Surely the government can find managers capable of managing care and nursing home properly at a reasonable cost rather than let the profiteers make money out of the elderly.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 55.

    Mum had Alzheimers and when I could no longer cope, found a small nursing home and I could not fault their care. But it was VERY expensive. Even allowing for attendance allowance and nursing care allowance, our bills were around 3k a month. The difference between the weekly rate for those who had to pay in full and for those whose bills were paid by the LA is about 300 per week. Just not on.

  • rate this
    +19

    Comment number 54.

    19.In Gold I Trust
    "... if/when I retire in 30 years I will get nothing like the gold-plated welfare state services that today's pensioners have got used to"
    ***
    The fact is that these pensioners DON'T get the 'state services' that they have already PAID for when they were in work. Remember; they are from a generation who actually had jobs and paid taxes

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 53.

    Bnkaers get paid millions then need the tax payer to spend billions bailing them out......


    ....important jobs like caring for the eldery & ill pay minimum wage......


    ....is it any wonder care is not great when people are paid peanuts.....


    ....the question being why when you go from a decent wage to an obscene one (bankers) do you end up back with monkies....????

 

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