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

    Comment number 112.

    30 Minutes ago
    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.
    Hoarding no we paid for it with because we knew there would be nothing when we got old.
    We worked long hard hours to get there 3jobs at a time to make ends meet.
    go do you like wise

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    109.NoHope NoChance

    "@101 "I remember when Thatcher opened the flood gates "

    the marvellous labour party had 13 years to correct this and did they? I agree the system sucks but stop blaming Thatcher for the worlds problems - the labour party is just as bad."

    Thatcher was much more clever than Nu Labour - she cut taxes too much, ensuring the country never has enough money to undo her damage!

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    Home care does not work if there is no NHS backup:
    Carers are rushed & do not spot developing medical problems
    GPs only work 9-5 in their offices & won't visit
    Community services (District Nurses, Community Physios etc) near non-existant
    So the elderly sit in shit waiting for a carer to "turn up sometime". Washing takes up all the visit & our elders end up malnourished & dehydrated.
    Better dead?

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    @101 "I remember when Thatcher opened the flood gates "

    the marvellous labour party had 13 years to correct this and did they? I agree the system sucks but stop blaming Thatcher for the worlds problems - the labour party is just as bad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    In line with the dogma, private provision good, public provision bad, Care for the Elderly was shunted off to the private sector when Nigel Lawson was Chancellor. He changed the funding of care which meant that people had to sell their homes to pay for it.
    What upsets most people is the realisation that their property windfall will be lost to care home fees.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    87. frankiecrisp

    I lived in Italy for a few years and this would never happen there familys care for their own much more than they do here. My grandmother moved in with my uncles family as soon as she could not cope its taken for granted that when the old are in need of help the family is there.
    That is how it is here for many families too. But this should be the norm.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    To be blunt, there just isn't enough money in looking after the elderly to attract and retain good quality carers. It's not the few £ an hour that the carers actually receive (they should get more), there's the cost of admin, employers NI, regulatory fees, transport, uniform / PPE, etc. TBH it's a lot of trouble to start a care company for little financial reward, regardless of moral worthiness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.


    I think,it is my duty to look after my parents in old age, unless they have a terminal illness that would make it necessary for them to,go into,hospital. To,many people put there elderly people into a home and there is nothing wrong...
    If parents need to move in, then for those that have had to move out of a house with a spare bedroom to one without, that's not always practical.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Every thing in this country is so disorganised its a disgrace.
    Nothing is planned long term all just knee jerk reaction from day to day.
    Wont change as everybody in goverment including civil servants are too busy avoiding tax,getting on private boards etc.
    No pride left in this country,just greed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    69. Exiledblade
    You alter your life to fit. Put yourself out a bit. Have less cash and fripperies. It is easy, and yes I have done it, right up to my mother taking her last breath last year. How can people not? Nor did I claim or take carer's benefits for looking after my own. Though I did 'profit' from a free tv licence and winter heating allowance she received, heated and entertained us both!

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Can't be much worse than the brutal treatment they can receive in the 'care' homes which Hunt's mates have investments in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    I remember when Thatcher opened the flood gates to private care many jumped on the bankwagon looking for an easy return on investment.

    This shows the risks of trying to provide good care while profits are the goal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    I know of one couple who were robbed of thousands by so called "carers". They pannicked during the Northern Rock crisis and withdrew their life savings. The carers were never taken to court nor were they sacked. Apparently it was their word against the old couple. How I wish old people had the same rights as children do in abuse cases. The whole thing is a mess.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Families have a moral duty to look after their older members. A significant number of old people made good money in working in the 1960/70/80s and chose to flush it down the brewers urinal week in and week out rather than provide for their old age. Of course there are old people who are destitute, abandoned and unloved and it is these people who we must look after

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    What ever happened to the 'BIG society', Bullingdon Boy, where we were all going ride to the rescue of our fellow citizens? Publicly, no doubt the tories will blame everyone but themselves for the abject state of elderly care, but secretly they're delighted as they and their fat friends can save even more money from their tax .

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    You know, considering how keen politicians are to make budget cuts these days, I'm surprised they haven't cottoned on to the potential savings to be made if assisted suicide and euthanasia were legalised...

    Seriously though, someething needs to give. Offspring can't necessarily afford to care for the elderly now and my gen can't afford a large enough home (or any!) to move an elderly parent in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Though elderly, I am doing my best to remain as fit as possible for as long as possible in the hope that by then the Government (whoever they are - does it make any difference?) will have legislated for voluntary euthanasia. I would rather take a little pill and go with dignity than be 'cared' for and have to suffer any number of indignities and a cruel wait for the end.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    i have not see any one since xmas i am lucky i have good mates

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    "sodapop"I have worked all my life,and have paid vast amounts in National Insurance,this was so that when I retire or become too ill to work I would have paid into the system and therefore I would be looked after.I have 3 grown up children.I cannot think of a more disturbing end of my life than watching my children struggling to look after me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.


    "This is just yet another example of the "granny farming" industry - they take your money but give you little in return.

    If you want to maximise your profits then you charge top-dollar and give poor levels of service. That's how it works in the UK."

    Especially applies to the CoL expensive service with a poor return. !!!


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