How safe is YOUR relative in care?

How safe is YOUR relative in care?

 Last week’s BBC Panorama has been playing on my mind. It showed in a shocking and brutal way how our elderly loved ones in this country are being treated at the hands of greedy and uncaring care home bosses.

Admittedly this is not true of every care home but I would go so far as to say that it is not uncommon.

Our elderly relatives and their families pay thousands in care costs and yet they end up being treated far worse than muggers, rapists and murderers in prison. In fact, the level of care they would receive in prison would be of a higher standard than the harrowing spectacle we witnessed on Panorama.

So, what’s the problem? In my view Care Home owners and operators put profit above the needs and care of the residents who ironically provide the profit. Staff are very often over worked and underpaid and most importantly, undertrained for the difficult task they choose to do.

There is the CQC (Care Quality Commission) who should be inspecting homes and protecting the interests of residents already in care and ensuring that those moving into the care system are going to be treated with dignity and respect. Ash Croft had a glowing CQC report. Why? Because the CQC would have gone there at an agreed time and what organisation would not pull out all the stops and put on a show of care, quality of life, respect and calm serenity? The inspectors who carry out the inspections will be working from a standard check list so as long as targets on the sheet are met then glaring gaps can be overlooked. The qualification and competence of the inspectors has to then be questioned. The CQC visited Ash Court TWICE after the assault and concluded

 “Ash Court ensures that people who use the service are protected from abuse, or the risk of abuse, and their rights are respected and upheld.”

I mentioned training earlier. If staff (in a high staff turnover industry) come into a care home then employers will either conduct in-house training led by a member of staff with no formal teaching qualification and who has to be pulled of his/her job to train a new employee, or there will be no formal training and the new employee will be shown what to do whilst on the job and the training book doctored accordingly.

The Panorama documentary showed that everything could be traced back to lack of staff supervision, lack of quality training and an unsuitability for the job. ALL of the workers filmed were from outside of the UK and would more than likely have been employed on minimum wage or just above (owner protecting profit). They had probably had no formal training and were de-motivated due to work pressures and under staffing. I in no way seek to justify this treatment but it’s a sad reality up and down this country. A spokeswoman from the Alzheimer’s Society said:

“Any case of abuse against a person with dementia is absolutely appalling. The most vulnerable people in our society should be treated with respect and dignity.

Our care system in the UK is broken and underfunded. In this context, it is not surprising that there is sometimes inadequate support and abuse.”

Had those members of staff received proper manual handling training, dementia care training and Health and Safety training, and had they been treated fairly by THEIR employer then I think it’s safe to say there would not have been a scandal or story. As long as care home owners and operators see care homes only as cash cows then we will see this and stories like it again and again.


The elderly are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and they deserve better. Yes they can be frustrating and difficult and that’s why not everyone is not suited to working in that environment. While the industry carries on and fails to get its house in order then the elderly in retirement and the twilight years of their lives will be subject to this systematic abuse.



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