Care Home Issues …
Here we want to look at care homes from the point of view of a family caregiver – perhaps one who no longer feels able to care for a loved one at home, or one at a loss to know how to choose the right care home, or one who’s made that choice, but still wants to feel involved in their loved one’s care.
We also want to hear the views of staff who work in care homes.
- What do you feel about your working conditions?
- Do you feel respected by your managers and by the people you work with?
- Is there anything you’d like to see done differently for the residents?
- What do you feel about your interaction with their families?
- Would you like more training in caring for people with dementia, or to know more about how it affects people?
- And if you’re a manager yourself, are you confident about meeting the needs of residents with dementia and their families? Are there any changes – other than purely financial – that would make it easier to provide the kind of service you would ideally like to see?
It’s an unfortunate fact that the general public hears very little about what goes on in care homes until there is a report of alarmingly bad practice. The recent secret camera footage shown on BBC’s Panorama is a good example. It showed not just some appalling practice in a British care home, but also staff who seemed to have a chilling lack of concern for the feelings of another human being – in this case, an 80 year old woman with dementia.
Snapshots like this don’t present a balanced picture. They tell us little about what the root of the problem was in that particular home at that time. Poor management? Demoralised staff? Nor do they give us any idea of whether this kind of abuse is widespread or isolated.
One thing they certainly can do is strike terror into the heart of anyone about to entrust a relative into residential care. Can they really trust the brochure, or the manager, or even (as the Panorama case suggested) the Care Commission reports for that home? What really happens behind those closed doors?
Maybe the whole idea of “closed doors” is the first thing we need to challenge. Not the physical doors, but the unseen barriers that get in the way of open, constructive debate about care home services, and make it very difficult for us to know what exactly goes on there.
Plenty of good things happen in care homes, even the poorly rated ones, but we hear very little about them. Often staff on very low wages are performing minor miracles on a daily basis. We know about these things not because of the brochures or the Care Inspectorate reports, but because of what we hear from people who’ve been there and witnessed them happening. We’d like to provide a platform here for those people to share their experiences for the benefit of others.
What we want is to bring family carers, care home staff, owners, providers and anyone else with an interest together in a conversation about what’s good, bad and indifferent in these services. We want to highlight and spread the word about the good things wherever they’re happening (see Ann’s visit to the Sneha Mandir care home in Goa) and help eliminate the bad.
We need family carers to tell us – and tell each other – what they feel about the care provided to their relatives. And as we said, we also want to hear from the staff in care homes. The fact is that the people who actually provide the care for the residents have somehow been left out of any debate about what they are doing – perhaps because they feel their jobs might be vulnerable. Contributors to our site will always have the option to remain anonymous.
Above all, we’d like you to help us think about how we can all work together to make things better.
The conversation starts here by email or leave a comment below.
- see Caroline’s campaign under NDCAN …