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 592.

    Privitisation = Good profit

    Privitisation = Rubbish service

  • rate this

    Comment number 591.

    Let's assume nobody in the UK intends to pay for their retirement care in the future. Who, exactly, would care for the elederly? We either allow immigrants such as the Asians, Africans or South Americans to come over here - and pay them a living wage of £20 per hour or £45k a year - or...should we export our elderly & send them off to lower cost base Tunisia, Libya, Mali, Sudan, to be cared for?

  • rate this

    Comment number 590.

    How on earth do the gov expect to get great care when the pay is peanuts , not all, but im sure to a lot of carers its a job they can fit around other things , maybe even the only job they can get ! . how come mps can expect huge expenses and a great pension , but think the rest of us should settle for the pits . private is no good its all for profit profit and more profit .cutting corners .

  • rate this

    Comment number 589.

    You live, you earn, you save, you pay your bills, yet, when you get old, you are expected to be allowed to pass anything you have saved to your descendants, while the tax payer pays your bills. This benefits the top 10% of us only, which includes MP's and is probably why it happens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 588.

    The housing boom made many people now in their 60's and 70's very rich and they chose to spend their money as they felt fit without worrying about their old age. To now ask the working young to pay for their extended life expectancy is wholly unjustified. Living longer, how much is left in the pot that they contributed? My taxes suggest less than nothing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 587.

    If, at age 65, I have £300k assets, do I,

    A) Spend it at the rate of £30K a year, £2.5k a month on holidays, hookers, booze, fine dining & living it large - with the intent of presenting myself to Social Services, broke but happy, on my 76th birthday


    B) Live frugally for 10 years & hand over all my remaining assets, say £200k, to the state

    In the UK, only an idiot would choose B

  • rate this

    Comment number 586.

    My mum cared for my Dad and thankfully she was able but when her time came, we cared for her Myself Brother and Sister, we did not expect anyone else to provide, but as it happened we got some help from carers particularly the Macmillan Nurses and the Hospice in Leeds, but over all it was her family, and i just hope it is MY family that looks after me.

    There is no given look after your own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 585.

    580. Chorley Lass

    "To all those saying that only the public sector can deliver quality services I have to say then how did North Staffs Hospital scandal happen?"

    High-flying, know-nothing "management" inflicting ill-thought out penny-pinching government policy on people who have to carry out those policies and STILL deliver a service despite the odds.....

    That's how cuts & initiatives work!

  • rate this

    Comment number 584.

    This country has been money-mad for far too long. Private sector companies running "social services" for profit is simply immoral.

    Privatisation of public sector services, openly or by stealth, is all governments of the last few years have cared about.

    Targets get put in place for pointless metrics, just to prove how good a fit the square pegs are for the round holes.

    We deserve better....

  • rate this

    Comment number 583.

    Being the cynic I am, I would say there is one simple reason why care for the poor is so bad - MONEY. The care homes have to make money, whilst employing staff. Now if they were to employ staff who were specifically trained in elderly care, their profits would drop, so they employ, well pretty much anyone with a pulse, given them none or inadequate training then leave them to it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 582.

    Because privatization takes away control from the people - it makes them customers not stakeholders. You can't have morals decided by the money men. Christianity's better
    Well put and yet you say your a Tory/Christian "DOH" ....it's what Tories do, they have no morals, Money IS GOD.

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    Bastiat trots out usual right libertarian nonsense, but one point is right - we have let successive governments of all colours have taken power to themselves and we have let them. POWER is about control, not meeting need. If we want to control our own future as we get older, we need to take that back. Unlike Bastiat I don't claim to have the answer but it isn't about abandoning the elderly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    To all those saying that only the public sector can deliver quality services I have to say then how did North Staffs Hospital scandal happen?

    Public sector is no guarantee of care and compassion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    The care Pensioners get now will vastly better than the care I will receive. The increase in amount of pensioners to young people will mean the ratio's of carers will fall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    Councillor David Rogers, of the Local Government Association, said were trying to "stamp out poor performance".
    How about some coaching, training and positive reinforcement Councillor ... stamping your foot will get you nowhere

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    Have your say Rejected
    49 Minutes ago
    What media does this?

    569. Conner De Public
    Its called the BBC or The Mirror.

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    Councils ought to concentrate there reduced amounts of cash on care for both the elderly and people with disabilites instead of translation services, transgender support services and all the other non essential services that only a minority of people use.

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    Care for the elderly should be provided by non profit organizations. I am appalled by how many care agencies we have in Peterborough. How is it a care Agency can charge £16.00 per hour and yet only pay the carer £6.50 per hour!! The same goes for Care Homes. All Care Homes in Peterborough are run by the private sector now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    Well said 92 !! to add to your comment everything that has been privatised has become a mess and a shambles ; rail ;energy ; utilities all out for profit to shareholders . Th elderly a just an inconvenience that all governments could not care less about . I wonder what may late father would ask why he fought for this long lost country ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    The only way that you can garantee decent care is to make it illegal for companies to make proffits from care. Unfortunately that will never happen.


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