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Care & carers

Better standards and training in dementia care

(18 Posts)
Niamh Mon 23-Apr-12 20:44:34

I have recently been a witness for the prosecution in a major case for neglect of a vulnerable elderly patient suffering with dementia. I have been nursing for 26 years and know all too well that this is not an isolated case. I advocate the return of the General and Social Care Council with basic training and registration of all care assistants in the UK. I am trying to start a campaign with regards to this and have just emailed my local MP. Obviously I have no prior experience with these things and welcome any advice or support anyone can give me.

nightowl Mon 23-Apr-12 21:05:57

Niamh I can't offer any advice but I completely agree with you about the GSCC. I am a local authority Social Worker and have to carry out safeguarding investigations and I am shocked at the apparent lack of any real regulation of homes or carers. I think we began to lose our way with the fragmentation of social care, with adults going off into Health and children off into Education. We have lost our identity and are no longer a meaningful profession, not helped by increasing privatisation of services. Successive governments who promoted this really did 'sell off their grandmothers'

Mishap Mon 23-Apr-12 21:44:36

The regulation of homes is a nonsense - I spent decades as a SW and I can assure you that virtually the only thing that will close a home down is financial irregularity. Never mind what is happening to the residents.

The best and most caring home that I used to use for people with dementia was closed because the owner was hopeless at figures - while the worst ones stayed open because the books looked great.

Just watched the panorama programme where carers were secretly filmed at a home that was rated as excellent - one of the carers finished up with 18 months in prison for assault. Not such an accurate rating then!

During my career, care and nursing home ownership moved from the LA to private companies - as long as the LA homes were open I would use those first - they had proper monitoring and training in place. The private companies are just there to make money. Thank you Mrs T!!

susiecb Tue 24-Apr-12 09:45:27

Sadly I agree its extremeley difficult to close a home down the regulations are a bureaucratic exercise which largely looks at the paperwork which can be made to say anything. When I read that nurses in training are having to be taught compassion I despair. I have sat through so much training that has been a complete waste of time. Strong supervision and management is required and unfortunately like so many other professions the Manager/matron spends a large proportion of their time on paperwork. I would like to see a strong advocacy system in place in all homes. I think we also have to consider the use of CCTV and yes I know the arguments re privacy and confidentiality but it can have its uses.

granjura Tue 24-Apr-12 10:53:52

Did anybody watch Panorama last night. A daughter suspected maltreatment due to bruising and her mother showing signs of being frightened (suffering from Alzheimers) so put a hidden camera in her room. It was shocking to the extreme, I could hardly watch. There are some very good OAP homes out there - but salaries are very low and staff cut to minimum.

Must say I am glad I live in a country where I can be a member of EXIT and get out of here before, if ever it happens to me. Dreadful - I wept.

grannyactivist Tue 24-Apr-12 11:52:35

I watched the Panorama programme granjura and, like you, I wept. It was the casual nature of the violence and physical manhandling of the woman that I found particularly shocking. How that poor woman felt for all that time she was in the 'care' home is difficult to imagine. Those last two slaps she received on camera were 'just for the sake of it'. shock
I visit one of our local care homes every month and the staff all seem happy to be there and look as if they enjoy their work. One of the residents often mentions to me how good and kind the carers are - otherwise I'm afraid I would now be suspicious after seeing the behaviour exposed on Panorama when none of the other residents/families suspected the carer in any way. I am sure that very many care homes and carers are committed to their work and the welfare of residents, but a programme like this one certainly puts a dent in one's confidence.

JayP Tue 24-Apr-12 12:39:07

I have worked in Care sector for many years (recently made redundant) trying to get another job I have been appalled at the rates of pay, terms and conditions I have been expected to work under, (one company paying so low petrol rates I would have to had to spend own money to work) and the fact that my training and experience seem to count for nothing, just the fact I was able to work here legally!
Only when the carers who really care and work to the high standards expected are treated as proffesionals and if not paid higher, treated with respect, nothing will change. I used to be proud of being a carer, not sure I am any more.

glammanana Tue 24-Apr-12 12:40:26

One of DDs friends works at a care home and by all reports it is a well run home and the careers are all qualified and caring men and women,the only thing I thought strange was on one afternoon DD was asked to collect her friends daughter from school as she was having to stay on later than normal as they where having an inspection two days later,why do the authorities not just walk in unannounced in the care home and do the inspection,this can be done any time of day,if some homes have anything to hide they have plenty of time to correct the matter if inspections are booked for a certain day.

nightowl Tue 24-Apr-12 12:46:55

You are right glammanana it makes a nonsense of inspections. Slightly different but the same happens in social work teams at inspection times - the last time this happened in my local authority children's services team the managers were in working every evening and weekend for about two weeks beforehand ; funny, they are not to be found at other times angry

MaggieP Tue 24-Apr-12 16:53:58

I have just watched last night's Panorama on iPlayer, and like everyone elses' comments, I am horrified by what I saw. How can any of us not be suspicious of any care home now, however ”excellent" it may appear.

Granb Tue 24-Apr-12 17:25:57

I have to agree with JayP, the rates of pay are scandalously low. As a nation we have to decide what we want - a caring profession that actually cares and is actually valued for that care or not.

Off-thread, the same can be said about so many professions, teaching, the law, social work etc etc. We have unfortunately allowed ourselves to sleep-walk into the situation. As they say tho'... what goes round, comes round.

Mishap Tue 24-Apr-12 17:37:22

Having expressed these concerns, it has to be said that there are pockets of exemplary care that are inspirational to visit, and it usually comes down to one thing: good management at the top - a person who just will not allow low standards and inspires his/her staff and makes them feel valued. This is true in may walks of life - schools, hospitals etc.

Arranged inspection visits are a nonsense.

When seeking a place for my demented mother, I was truly appalled at some of the homes - and they calmly showed me the awful things without any concept shame or embarrassment. Such things as: walking into rooms without knocking and ignoring the person in there, ignoring people calling out in distress, filthy soiled pads lying on bedroom floors, revolting decor - torn wallpaper, wet lino etc. - dark corridors with people walking around lost, people sitting around with no shoes on with their feet blue, revolting stench (NOT necessary - the best homes do NOT have this). The people showing us round seemed not to realise that these things were unacceptable. One home manager, when she heard that my Mum tended to wander, said what a shame it was that they were no longer allowed to strap people in their beds, as it had saved a lot of work! - yes, she said this to me openly and in all seriousness - and thought I might wish to send my mother there!!

All the homes I went to for my mother were ones with good inspection reports - heaven knows what the others were like!

grannyactivist Tue 24-Apr-12 19:43:08

Mishap you've painted a truly frightening picture.

Libradi Wed 25-Apr-12 09:11:46

I also cried while watching the Panorama program,that poor lady must have thought she was in hell. I watched it with my DD who is a qualified carer and it made her so angry. The wages and conditions are poor but as my DD says some people are only going into care work because they can't find any other sort of work, not because 'They care'. The home where my DD did her training was lovely, it was clean, homely and they treated their clients with care and dignity. Such a contrast to the home on Panorama.
This particular home had a brilliant Manager, she ran a tight ship and was proud of her home.

Riverwalk Wed 25-Apr-12 10:06:35

Libradi if only all care homes were headed by people like your DDs 'brilliant manager' - good management is key.

As a nation though we all share the blame ..... by tolerating such low wages for care home staff. Seems the only qualification for many jobs is the willingness to work for the minimum wage.

dorsetpennt Wed 25-Apr-12 10:06:36

After seeing this thread this morning I watched last night's programme on IPlayer. I sat with tears running down my face watching these awful people mis-treat this poor old lady. When the man slapped her 6 times it was almost too much. Have all the dementia patients in this home suffered in silence this way? Hopefully their family members watched the programme and removed their patients instantly. The trouble is finding a home. Dementia is a progressive disease and very difficult to manage in a family home. Especially if there are children present. These homes barely pay their workers the minimum wage so are not going to attract a better trained person. They are often desparate for staff at these rates of pay and one wonders how far they delve into references and so called trained nurses diplomas. I know someone who toured homes in the area. The cheaper ones were like the homes Mishap visited, whereas the really lovely ones were very expensive. They sold their mother's home to pay for her care in a really lovely home, she is so happy and well cared for there. However, mother is upset because she had earmarked her home as part of her childrens' inheritance.

Niamh Tue 19-Jun-12 21:48:14

I have started a government e campaign with a view to revising the training of care staff working in the field of dementia and inclusion on a national register. I would be very grateful if you could all sign the petition and encourage your family and friends to do the same. I thank you in anticipation of your support!

GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 20-Jun-12 08:12:48

Niamh, would you like to post the link to the epetition on our epetitions forum?