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Tag Archive: Vulnerable Elderly

Report Finds Care Home Neglect Leaving Elderly in ‘Filthy’ Accommodation

Sad elderly lady | Care Home Neglect Leaving Elderly in Filthy Accommodation

Vulnerable elderly people are facing “filthy” accommodation in care homes, a new investigation reveals, with residents left in squalid conditions, dressed in other people’s clothing and living without exercise for weeks at a time.

The investigation, which was carried out by health and social care advice service Healthwatch, saw 197 surprise inspections at nursing and residential homes across England, with substandard care noted in several cases.

As part of the investigation, Healthwatch investigators reviewed patient access to additional health services, including GPs and dentists. Worryingly, it found that only one facility was able to provide elderly residents with regular access to vital healthcare services — leaving vulnerable elderly residents at risk from ill-health and worsening medical conditions.

Describing the findings as a serious “wakeup call” for the social care sector and its regulators, Healthwatch said there remains a “worrying culture of apathy” within the care sector, with care providers, regulators and healthcare professionals not doing enough to maintain a reasonable standard of quality care.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Imelda Redmond, national director of Healthwatch England, commented that regulators understand that care homes are struggling with cuts to social care services, but added: “Getting the basics right doesn’t have to cost the earth and should be the least we should all be able to expect for our loved ones and ourselves should we need care support.”

The Healthwatch report revealed a series of shocking findings within poorly performing care homes, including cases where residents were forced to wait an hour to go to the toilet, and were left in bed for weeks at a time with the bare minimum of physical activity. The report also logged several hygiene and cleanliness issues, including peeling wallpaper, dirty rooms, rotting plants left on patient’s windowsills, and laundry not being returned to the right person, and later worn by someone else.

Concerns were also raised around specialist nursing homes intended to accommodate dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, with inspectors commenting on a serious lack of awareness of the condition, and the needs of vulnerable people suffering from it.

Jeremy Hughes of the Alzheimer’s Society told the Telegraph that he is “not at all surprised by the findings”, adding: “They testify to the existing issues with staff training across the sector, and echo what our investigation last year found — that one-in-three home-care workers had received absolutely no dementia training, resulting in people with dementia left in soiled sheets, and becoming ill after eating out-of-date food.”

New Report Confirms Substandard Social Care Epidemic

Sad elderly man | Care Home Neglect Claims

While the Healthwatch investigation did encounter examples of good care at nursing and residential homes in England, the scope of negligent care that remains prevalent in care homes across the country is impossible to overlook — particularly when you consider the other damning reports to have emerged over the past few months.

At the start of July, the CQC published a report which threw into sharp relief the poor state of social care services in England. It found that one-in-three care homes are failing on safety, with falls, drug errors and a lack of resources leaving vulnerable elderly people at risk from negligence and abuse in residential and nursing homes up and down the country.

And less than a week before the CQC report, at the end of June, a survey of 800 GPs revealed that cases of abuse and neglect of the elderly have risen by a third, with health workers voicing concerns that the social care system is “disintegrating”. GPs logged over 5,600 abuse referrals in 2015/16, an increase of a third compared to the previous period — figures described as “truly frightening” by elderly awareness charity, Age UK.

Between reports from Healthwatch and the CQC, and the figures published by the independent poll of GPs, it’s clear that England’s social care system is now at breaking point. Three separate investigations have now confirmed the deep-rooted problems within residential and nursing homes, with vulnerable elderly people facing the burden of substandard care, rising abuse and neglect, and a worrying lack of resources across the social care sector.

Experts from Healthwatch England described their report as a “wakeup call”, but sadly, reports of neglect and abuse of the elderly are no longer surprising. Until greater onus is placed on improving and investing in social care services, cases of elderly abuse and neglect will continue to make headlines — and it’s not yet clear what the government proposes to do to prevent them.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we campaign for the improved safeguarding of vulnerable elderly people, and act on behalf of those affected by negligent treatment and abuse in care homes. To find out more, visit our care home abuse page or contact our team today.

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11/08/2017 No Comments

One in Three Care Homes in England Failing on Safety

More than one third of care homes in England are failing safety inspections, with falls, drug errors and lack of staff leaving vulnerable elderly people at risk.

The shocking findings come as part of a review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which oversees safety standards across England’s 4,000 care and residential homes.

In 2014, the CQC introduced a tougher inspection system amid fears that social care problems were going undetected. This recent review is the first time the CQC has unveiled its findings since the system was launched, and the results paint a damning picture.

Of the 24,000 social care services operating in England, residential care homes performed the worst, with 37% failing safety inspections. Given that over 200,000 elderly people rely on residential care, such failings are wholly unacceptable and should be addressed as a matter of urgency to guarantee the safeguarding of our vulnerable elderly.

Since launching its tougher inspection regime, the CQC has taken enforcement action against 1,000 care providers, successfully prosecuting five organisations. Others have been forced to close down until safety and hygiene failings are addressed, and the commission continues to monitor and re-inspect services deemed to be falling below the expected standard.

In its review, the CQC refers to several cases of poor care reported by its inspectors, bringing to light the scale of neglect, error and abuse vulnerable elderly people are exposed to in England’s underperforming care services. These include:

  • Cases where elderly residents were left in bed all day because there weren’t enough staff to provide help and support, increasing the risk of pressure sores and ulceration.
  • The death of a man who suffered a broken neck after falling from a mobility shower chair in a West Yorkshire residential home.
  • Cases where incontinence pads weren’t changed regularly, and in some instances reused.
  • Several medication errors, including the case of an elderly resident who died after being given the wrong type of blood-clotting drug.
  • Incidents involving serious burns, including the case of Kathleen Waters, a 79-year old woman left scarred after falling into a radiator in a care home in London.

The CQC’s chief inspector, Andrea Sutcliffe, acknowledged that government cuts to social care spending remain a major issue for the sector, stating that a “long-term solution” was needed to solve the current care crisis. However, she also said that a lack of money was no excuse for such failings.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Sutcliffe said: “It appears to be increasingly difficult for some providers to deliver the safe, high-quality and compassionate care people deserve and have every right to expect. With demand for social care expected to rise over the next two decades, this is more worrying than ever.”

Is England’s Social Care System ‘Disintegrating’?

Elderly woman looks sad | One in three care homes failing on safety

Results from the CQC’s social care review come amid a climate of concern for the future of social care in the UK. Last week, a report emerged showing that cases of elderly abuse and neglect have risen by a third, with GPs referring more patients to social care services than ever before.

Of the poll of 800 GPs, 60% said they were unable to secure the appropriate social care for elderly patients, leaving many vulnerable people exposed to further abuse and neglect. The fact that social care services are unable to respond appropriately to abuse and neglect referrals is particularly concerning in light of the latest CQC review — suggesting that the safety of vulnerable elderly people is being put at risk due to lack of resources and a lack of steps towards improving safety standards.

With social care services at breaking point and evidence showing that neglect and abuse are rife in many care and residential homes, more must be done to safeguard the vulnerable elderly in the long and short term.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we continue to push for CCTV systems to be made mandatory in UK care homes as part of our Love Our Vulnerable Elderly campaign. We believe CCTV technology could lead to improved standards in residential and care homes, making it possible to monitor care providers and prevent future cases of abuse and neglect.

For more information on our work in helping victims of care home abuse and neglect, click here or contact our team today.

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06/07/2017 No Comments

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