Over the past few weeks the press has been full of articles about the poor quality of care for older people who still live in their own homes. Visited by a succession of often unfamiliar faces, rushing through a treadmill of tasks of daily living:-
- Getting people out of bed
- Getting people washed / showered if there is one / a bath is out of the question
- Getting people breakfast – no full English breakfast here / toast at the most
- Ensure medication is taken
Write it all down in the “no-care” plan and go onto the next client. Oh and do it in 15 minutes!
The obvious question to ask is who is to blame for all this? The first person in the firing line is always the carer who is running around like a headless chicken from client to client. But they are just following the impossible schedule that is given to them by their employer.
The employer is usually a domiciliary care agency but the funding for much of their work is provided by Social Services who know only too well that there is inadequate time allowed to deliver high quality care and also that the finances only provide for minimum wage employees, many of whom will not be adequately trained in caring. So maybe Social Services should be blamed?
From a Social Service viewpoint, the total amount of money they have available is severely constrained by Central Government at a time when there are more and more older people needing care and support. This financial equation is never going to work and will always mean that resources are stretched too thinly and quality care takes second place, even if it is provided at all. Successive Governments have been well aware of this looming situation for many years and yet all politicians refuse to face up to telling the electorate that the majority of older people will have to pay for their own care. This lack of leadership, courage and honesty leaves older people with false hopes and forlorn expectations.