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March 24th 2015

Care Home Abuse

Maintaining the spotlight on poor care home standards is key to stopping abuse and neglect

Maintaining the spotlight on poor care home standards is key to stopping abuse and neglect

As specialists in compensation cases involving poor treatment and care home negligence, Neil Hudgell Solicitors have welcomed the increased scrutiny of the industry – both from within the health sector and externally from the media.

As specialists in compensation cases involving poor treatment and care home negligence, Neil Hudgell Solicitors have welcomed the increased scrutiny of the industry – both from within the health sector and externally from the media.

Never has the spotlight been more intensely focused on the quality of care – or in some cases – lack of it. National campaigns have quite rightly been launched to ensure the elderly are always afforded the dignity and respect they deserve.

However, despite this increased focus, lessons are still not being learned by many of those whose business it is to provide care.

Care home operators are still being exposed for taking short cuts and failing to follow rules and procedures strictly, ultimately leading to falling standards of care.

In many cases, it is slack procedures and a lack of accountability which opens the door for rogue members of staff to act in an abusive or neglectful manner, not just once, but on numerous occasions.

It was recently reported how an unannounced inspection on West Park Nursing Home, in Selby Street, Hull, highlighted how it was failing to look after its residents properly.

During a three-day inspection in January, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) spoke to seven residents and three of their relatives, observing how staff interacted with residents, speaking to staff and checking patients’ care files.

According to reports, inspectors discovered that care plans were not updated with people’s preferences or changing needs, and that safeguarding rules had not always been followed when allegations of abuse had been made.

It is our firm belief that care homes up and down the country must up their game and start providing the care and quality treatment that our friends and family deserve.

It is also important for families of relatives in care to play a key role in enforcing change, by highlighting such failings.

Our advice is simple. If people fear their relative may be a victim of any form of abuse or neglect, they should not delay and should raise the issue immediately with the care home management. They shouldn’t allow their concerns to be easily dismissed, or fear being labelled a ‘complainer’. Instinct of loved ones is often spot on.

For more information, visit our care home and nursing home negligence page.

In the many cases we handle, our role is often a supporting one. We ensure the concerns of families are fully investigated and taken seriously. Whether those concerns relate to the development of pressure ulcers, unexplained bruises or signs of fearfulness in their loved one, if questions need answering, our team uses its years of experience to ensure they are.

It has to be said that our work also enables us to see the superb job the vast majority of care home staff do.

Carers work tirelessly, not on the biggest of salaries, often handling residents who can themselves become violent, aggressive and difficult to handle. The people providing care do so because they want to help.

It is only when safeguarding procedures fail, care plans are not religiously updated and followed, and incidents of abuse are not recorded and immediately addressed, that standards of care ultimately start to decline.

When this decline starts though, it is hard to stop and reverse. But we are here to help.

We all have a duty to tackle this issue. It starts with the care home operators themselves, but filters down to families and those that represent them.

CQC member, Debbie Westhead, is working with Hull City Council and Hull Clinical Commissioning Group to safeguard the wellbeing of people at West Park Nursing Home after its recent inspection. She told the Hull Daily Mail that residents are entitled to ‘services that provide safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care.’

That should never be too much to ask or expect.

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