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Failing care homes-a cash cow or a human tragedy? 😡

(54 Posts)
MawBroonsback Sun 05-May-19 12:33:36

Are care homes being seen as a cushy investment or even. “Cash cow” at the tragic expense of their residents who may be our loved ones or even ourselves?
I am horrified by what I have read, filled with foreboding for the future and (I think righteous) anger at these people who are so cruelly abusing our trust and their residents .
And I fear CQC are impotent in too many cases.

Luckygirl Sun 05-May-19 12:39:39

CQC are indeed impotent.

dragonfly46 Sun 05-May-19 12:46:13

Unfortunately there are not enough care homes to go round so it is difficult to avoid the bad ones. When I was looking for my parents I did in fact choose a home which was not rated as outstanding or even good but I liked the atmosphere there. Both my parents were happy there and could be together until my dad died in the summer. Now my mum is in the dementia unit but she is content. It is not perfect but I can keep an eye on things and can see she is well cared for.
Unfortunately the one my mum is in is owned by Four Seasons but we have been assured that the fact that the holding company has gone into liquidation will not affect us. They are hoping to sell the care home branch.

Maybe in certain cases the owners see individual care homes as an investment but it is not sustainable as care workers are difficult to find and constantly move from one home to another. Brexit will make this even more difficult.

The majority of care home residents are paid for by the council which pays as little as possible. The self-funders subsidise but if there are not enough self-funders there is a huge short fall.

The CQC visit unannounced for two days in the year so they cannot be aware of all that goes on.

Until councils are prepared to pay the going rate and care workers are valued and paid accordingly the system will fail and continue failing.

ninathenana Sun 05-May-19 12:58:54

DD works as a senior carer in a home that has just had a damning report for everything except the care given to residents. The home is privately owned by a family and the owners (who show their faces about once a month) don't have a clue on how things should be. The manager will get his hands dirty in a crisis but needs telling what to do.
They are under staffed on nearly every shift. DD has had endless heated "discussions" with them.
I could write an essay angrysad

GrannyGravy13 Sun 05-May-19 12:59:19

We chose a home for our Dad with vascular dementia, it was not the “poshest” in fact it was rather run down. It was however small and the staff mostly Eastern European’s and Asians were the most kind and empathetic you could hope for. He was fully NHS funded.

Some of the so called best, modern and posh ones had a rather uncaring money based attitude, and made us feel as if it was just as you describe “a cash cow”!!

fizzers Sun 05-May-19 13:14:29

My late mother had to go into a care home last year, for basically palliative care, it was fully funded by the NHS, it too had a fairly bad review, so with trepidation we let my mother be transferred to this care home. It was a wonderful place, the staff were kind and caring and they tended to my mother's every need, nothing was too much trouble. I must admit mum was not the easiest of persons to get along with and her increasing illness and dementia did not help matters, but they persevered, sitting with her through the night when she was trying to get out of bed and shouting at the staff.

On the day she passed awy, the staff were so caring and understanding and formed a sort of guard of honour as the undertaker removed mum's body from the home.

kittylester Sun 05-May-19 13:16:10

When mum needed to go in a care home, we could only persuade her that it was a good idea by choosing one that looked like a hotel. It was appalling.

Luckily, dh had visited lots in our area and we were able to find one that was lovely (if slightly scuffed round the edges) and family run. The staff were brilliant with the residents but the owners were often around.

GillT57 Sun 05-May-19 13:43:44

Until we, as taxpayers, are prepared to pay more into the care budget, this situation will only worsen. The amount that local authorities pay is pitiful and does not cover costs to be honest. We found a lovely place for my DM, but we were self funders. Not all care homes are awful, many are safe, warm, caring places but those ones do not make the news. This is an issue that everyone needs to be concerned about.

trisher Sun 05-May-19 13:55:35

I visited quite a few homes when my mum was going to come out of hospital. I didn't like any of them. The rooms were often tiny and some residents in beds had their doors left open, obviously they were ill but does that mean they don't deserve privacy? Some of the staff were caring but a bit condescending. My mum would not have been impressed with Easter Egg displays and hat decorating competitions. She would have been quite scathing. She died in hospital and perhaps it was best. Personally I'm going to go for the one way ticket to Switzerland.

Cherrytree59 Sun 05-May-19 13:55:44

25 years ago my friends uncle won the pools,
He used his money to open a care home and with the money from the first he went on to open another 2.
He has since retired and his AC now run the care homes.
I have no idea how good the homes are now.

sodapop Sun 05-May-19 14:09:48

Yes you are right GillT57 we need to put more into the NHS and Social Care budget. Some form of health insurance or increased NI payments. The situation in France is much the same with costs of care.

Callistemon Sun 05-May-19 14:17:41

Some care homes belong to chains which are owned by speculators, private equity firms, those who want to make a fast profit.

I think that, for the cost of care in this country, the service offered by some of these homes is a disgrace.

MawBroonsback Sun 05-May-19 14:19:05

Forgive the lengthy “copy and paste” but in case the link does not make this clear enough, it seems the owners of homes that are closed down are just opening up again under a different company name 😡
The shocking findings come as police investigate alleged failings by Sussex Health Care, which owns nine care homes where 13 elderly people died. The directors of the company, now rebranded as SHC Clemsfold Group, are Shiraz Boghani, 68, who is also the chairman of the Splendid Hospitality Group, which owns the Hilton London Bankside; and Dr Shafik Sachedina, 68
They run 18 care homes under two different companies. Seventeen of the homes have poor ratings and one has a “good” rating from the CQC.
Sussex Health Care said it had “co-operated fully and openly with the police investigations” and no charges had been brought against it or any staff members. The company questions some of the CQC decisions.
Fairview House on the Isle of Wight was closed last year after the CQC found just two staff caring for 22 residents at night. Inspectors saw puddles of urine on the floors of two bedrooms and some mattresses had dried faeces on them

Fennel Sun 05-May-19 20:55:49

My Mum lived in a lovely care home in her last 5 years. It was small and basic, but the owners and carers were local and she was well looked after.
Then came expensive new govt. regs and the owner couldn't afford it. He tried to sell, but it has been knocked down now, for new housing.
As with most things, it's all to do with money. The carers are so poorly paid that no-one wants to do the job. So that many "homes" are now staffed by agency workers, who don't get to know the people they're supposed to look after.
I hope and pray I drop dead before I have to go to anywhere like that.
However, with a friend, I've recently started to visit someone in a nearby old age home, I suppose it's 'private', and the care etc seems to be very good there.
i must find out how much they pay.

M0nica Sun 05-May-19 22:17:01

I do not know where the idea that care homes are cash cows comes from. I have had various members of my family and friends in care homes since the 1970s and the discussion in the media has always been of homes closing down because the owners cannot make a living.

Yes, some owners in the news have seem to have made a lot of money, but they are usually in the news because the home has just been shut down because standards are so low, the money has been made at the price of severe neglect of residents and it is not surprising that the sharks involved want to stay in an industry they know and go on to run other homes badly.

I think anyone associated with running a care home that is shut down because standards are so low should be banned from owning or working in care homes for life.

Supporting people in care is expensive. A care home a relation was in had a fire practice once when we were there and on the count of staff alone DH and I calculated that the home must employ 2 staff for every resident, by the time you allowed for 24 hour coverage. In day time as well as carers there were administrators, a gardener, a maintenance man, laundry staff, kitchen staff, cleaners and activity organisers. so as well as salaries there are utility bills, council tax, insurance, food, consumables major maintenance and repair work and a host of other bills.

Many residents are dependent on social funding and the rates Local authorities will pay are sometimes only half the cost of actually providing a good standard of care and as we all know care staff are woefully underpayed and under valued.

We need to face up to the real cost of keeping someone in care and not constantly complain about how high it is.

Lets face it some 3 star hotels charge upwards of £100 a night for bed and breakfast, yet we expect a care home to provide full board, laundry,a high level of personal care, occupation and medical care for much the same price aand compalin if it costs more.

maryeliza54 Sun 05-May-19 23:45:49

This is such a huge multi-faceted problem isn’t it? Is there a fundamental flaw in care homes being a business ( which most are)? But I can’t see that model of provision changing. Then the funding issue - about 40+ % of residents self fund. The real problem as pps said is the low rate that councils can afford to pay. I believe that the Four Seasons Group has a very high % of council paid for residents which must be an unsustainable business model if care is to be of sufficient quality. Then there are all the governance and regulatatory issues. What this thread should do is act as a wake up call to those who have ( or would like to) come up with ideas to avoid having to be self founders - as some of us have said, at least if you have your own cash, you have more choices and are less likely to end up in a home run by a company that goes bankrupt.

Telly Mon 06-May-19 08:50:40

The fact that they are a business and therefore run for profit is where the issue lies. If there was not money to be made then the owners wouldn't be rushing to open a new one when they are forced to close. Money is made by cutting corners and understaffing/lack of training/supervision. The client base are vulnerable so easy targets.

M0nica Mon 06-May-19 09:04:07

Telly It is a small subset of owners who run homes for large profits by blatantly neglecting their residents. Most private care home owners are making a just adequate living from their homes, and many are running them at a loss and closing down voluntarily.

While councils think that care home providers should provide everything for residents on around £70 a day, less than a 2 star hotel charges for bed and breakfast the care home sector is going to be pushed to make a living and if the homes were in public care, the managers appointed to run them would probably be paid higher wages than many care homeowners make.

Telly Mon 06-May-19 09:18:33

That's what the post is about as per the investigation - owners are reopening after being closed down. So there's obviously money in it for them.

ctussaud Mon 06-May-19 09:47:22

I read an article recently in which a couple had sold their home, packed the absolute basics into a few cases, and moved permanently into a local chain hotel. Compare the overnight rates of that with the overnight rates at a care home! Obviously one is lucky if there are no health issues to consider.
Similarly, a friend’s mother wintered abroad by spending three months in a hotel in Cyprus. Cheaper than the equivalent in the UK would be, better weather, and you can negotiate a good rate if you're long-term.

Patticake123 Mon 06-May-19 09:49:58

I haven’t seen the item you are describing but from personal experience I have always believed that care and profit do not mix. My own dear Mum ended life in a Nursing home owned by GP’s. I spent time each week teaching care staff how to behave ( I was a former nurse tutor). In my role as a teacher I had to teach groups of staff from care homes and almost without exception, the home owners would be calling me to complain about the ideas I was putting into the heads of their staff. Ideas like, an elderly person doesn’t necessarily need to wear a bib. An elderly person doesn’t necessarily need to get up at 6.0am to suit the needs of the night staff. Etc, etc. I am talking about issues that arose more than 20 years ago, i did my very best to bring issues to the attention of powers at be but it all fell on deaf ears. Profit out of the elderly and vulnerable is unacceptable.

HappyNan1 Mon 06-May-19 09:56:56

I work in a VERY upmarket 5* care home. We do our absolute best however, our residents do NOT get 5* star service. It’s all about money and business. I will say that all of our staff do our absolute best but it’s not enough in my humble opinion. I love my work. Work in a dementia unit and care so much for our residents. It IS much much better than a council run place but still not good enough. So very sad

MawBroonsback Mon 06-May-19 10:03:08

Thank you Telly -glad somebody got the point smile

Hm999 Mon 06-May-19 10:04:05

It's about profit. Everything these days is about someone making a profit. My grandmother was in council-run sheltered housing where she could cook for herself, or be fed by others. It was subsidised by central and local direct taxation, it was subsidised by us. Nowadays it's all about 'why should younger people subsidise the older generation?'

maryeliza54 Mon 06-May-19 10:07:27

Councils are in an impossible situation re the huge cuts to their budgets - the blame doesn’t start and end with them but with the huge cuts made to las since 2010. Since 2010 allowing for inflation the governments contribution has been cut by 38%. By increasing council tax and other local revenues, la budgets are down by 26%. These figures are of course averages with poorer areas reliant more on central government grants being hit hardest. Poorer areas will also have less self funders in their areas and so have more to pay in care costs