The UK Equality and Human Rights Commission has been investigating care standards in the UK. Its findings are dire.
The report has published its findings, on November 23, 2011, and elderly people it appears are particularly suffering from poor care. Gone are the days when families rallied round and cared for elderly relatives and even neighbours. These days the elderly in the UK, who cannot care for themselves, have to rely on care homes and care in the community. It seems that their basic needs are not met by these carers.
One way forward, which is being considered, is to build the Human Rights Act framework into the care commissioning of local UK councils.
Measures are already in place to monitor care standards but obviously they do not go far enough. The commission wants the elderly and vulnerable to have the same basic rights available that we all expect, for example in a hospital. Privacy and dignity should not simply be the right of the young and the strong. It should be the basic right of all.
In the UK we tend to be liberal minded and usually philanthropic. We abhor the poor treatment of people abroad, yet we seem unable to accept that our own citizens are often being let down dreadfully. Home care services are often bad and there are some grim reports of treatment which supplies anything but care.
Opinion: We will all be old one day. Fact. That is unless we die young. Not much of a choice but the only one we have. Providing elderly people with dignity and privacy, whilst they use the toilet, bathe and the like should go without saying. A change of culture in elderly care is needed.
In countries such as Japan elderly citizens are shown the utmost respect and in many ways revered. That will probably never happen in the UK but surely basic Human Rights is the least an elderly person can expect.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog