Care of the Elderly is a difficult one. If you have ever cared for an elderly relative you will now how hard it can be. If the person has dementia or Alzheimers for example the task will be even harder. If you can feel this about caring for a loved one what about caring for a total stranger? However we regularly expect people to care for total strangers.
Modern life has meant that in the UK few elder citizens are cared for at home. Cuts to support services have meant that it is hard to get the necessary support in your own home. Most modern families in the UK do not want an aged parent living with them. For some of the elder citizens this is good news. It is much better to stay independent if you can and are able to.
TEK Journalism reported in February 2012 that health professionals were trying to ensure that elderly patients were treat with due respect. Care should be all about respecting a person's "privacy and dignity" The earlier report showed that they did however seem to be getting bogged down with terminology such as "old dear" when in fact much more was wrong with care of the elderly.
Today March 16, 2012, a damning report on the care of the elderly in the UK has been released. It follows an under cover investigation by consumer group "which". It involved 30 care receivers during a period of time in January. All kept diaries regarding the care they received.
The investigation highlighted care given in the home. Gone are the days when highly trained staff employed by the local government worked in elderly people's homes. These days it is agency staff. That should not matter but it may Agency work does not have to mean giving poor care and thousands of agency workers keep Britain going these days. Hospitals Councils, residential homes and more rely on agency staff.
You could argue that is wrong. Agency staff cost more in the long run and people deserve permanent work. However currently temporary posts are often up for recruitment due to budget cuts, predicted job cuts and the like.
According to sky news an investigation has revealed: "Elderly people are suffering "disgraceful" home care, including missed medication and confinement to soiled beds" It went on to report on care which included, " missed visits, food being put out that was not in reach and vulnerable people being left without a way of getting to the bathroom" All in all a catalogue of sorry care.
The investigation also detailed, "One elderly woman was left alone in the dark for hours unable to find food or drink. Another was left without a walking frame, leaving her unable to get to the bathroom, while one man was not given vital diabetes medication."
There will of course be many agency workers who care a great deal about their work and give a wonderful service. However in a care environment a handful of bad apples is a handful too many.
As the UK Coalition continues to cut budgets we can expect services to suffer, get worse and probably decline. Perhaps we should be lobbying our politicians now. After all unless the grim reaper claims you as a young person we all have to grow old.
Right now this bloggers assessment is, get this fixed as a priority. Stop concentrating on words such as old dear and get your priorities right.
Full report here
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog