“Inaction Turns To Care Home Crisis”

Many of the themes in my blog seem to repeat themselves year after year.  None more so that the subject of residential care, which I started writing about in 2010 shortly after I had retired from the ExtraCare Charitable Trust.

In October 2010 I wrote a blog entitled “Residential Care Dilemma” and thereafter I followed on with several other blogs on the same subject before focusing specifically on the collapse of the biggest organisation of residential care – Southern Cross.  (You can see all these blogs by clicking on “Residential Care” in the TOPICS list.)  Here are some prescient quotes from some of those posts which relate directly to the recent crisis in residential care which has been prominently in the media in the last few weeks:-

  1. “Now, many of the big residential care companies are on the verge of insolvency due to the combination of high gearing and artificially low fee income”;
  2. “If Care Quality Commission (CQC) wish to have a substantial, strategic and long-term impact on quality outcomes, it can’t be through increased regulation and more home closures”;
  3. “The CQC should champion good practice and facilitate learning and skills improvement throughout the residential and domiciliary care sector”;
  4. “If we do nothing, the tougher regulation road can only lead to crisis”.

There is no question that paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 have all come about as I predicted.    Here are some facts to prove it. :-

  • 1500 Care homes have closed in the last 5 years;
  • many other homes are on the brink of bankruptcy and will struggle to pay the new living wage to their staff;
  • care home providers are moving away from Social Service funded residents wherever they can. Resulting in more blocked beds in the NHS.
  • meanwhile the number of older people needing care is rising as the population ages.

Unfortunately little has been done from about developing a more positive role of CQC referred to in paragraph 3.    In its latest Annual Report CQC shows that in the last year it has rated one-third of the 17,000 residential and nursing homes as either “inadequate” or “in need of improvement”.

CQC needs to be given an expanded role which focuses on training for quality improvement throughout the residential care sector.   It need not cost  lots more money.      At a time when most staff will already be receiving increases in pay, it is an ideal time to expect them to improve their caring skills.     Without action it is the residents who pay with a reduced quality of service.

Regulation alone, used as a stick is never the  answer, it needs to be accompanied by the helping hand of hope !

 

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2 Responses to “Inaction Turns To Care Home Crisis”

  1. Dear JoHn as normal you are knocking at the door, and ringing bells-Not alarm bells just yet, but very noisy ones.
    AS a resident of a retirement village, I am from time to time gazing into space and contemplating ‘What If’
    The retirement village is a wonderful concept, with domiciliary care! However watching your blog ans actual life within this retirement village, I find the definitions between Clinicial and medical care and that of ‘WELFARE, confusing. The regulations appear strict for clinical care, and less so for welfare (Bathing showing,feeding/dressing): Where is the training and regulation split?
    I know human nature has a lot to bear upon regulations and the enactments after Dr. Shipman, and the abuse by cares and the Ratification/registrations need to treat vulnerable persons old or young? (With their ailments).
    In a residential/nursing home, retirement home, and a retirement village one is dealing with a variety of age related ailments, and it requires a Strong and caring management structure. Here I feel we need touching or light legislation and regulations.
    The whole system of the Care Industry especially for the elderly has to be an industry of trust, for and between the families and dependents on the service (users).
    AS with all life and decisions made one must be a mutual consensus between the interested parties, of which a financial arrangement is a’ part off’, and an understanding is an understanding for all users of the care industry, and cannot be be one of ‘avarice’. The investments made are integrity and fairness.
    In the recent CQC Annual report its servants reported on many varied sectors of society and I am vary of what I may wish for.
    THE CQC reported upon gypsies/travellers/ immigrants/ justice cases/learning difficulties/mentally ill, and some more! Here I am worried, as to how the regulators in the future recommend these social groups are catered for, or are they all regarded once 55+ as old age-elderly and put into a common pool, for treatment by the care industry.
    I am asking in a way where is money from government being spent for the elderly, and do we all need to think about these fringe problems and then with ones income/pension/assets made the choices in life which we wish for as an elderly citizen.

  2. I just wonder? if I have looked in the mirror, and answered my self? I hope I have not appeared as a ‘bumcious prig’ and espoused all what I wish for my old age. I believe for the majority of law abiding citizens of the UK the hopes and fears? and again that vision/belief in what one can attain with fellow countrymen is achievable, with some fore thought and consideration for others in our society., for majority of the elderly.
    There always will be persons, groups at the fringes of society who need and deserve that extra helping of care and consideration, should they have lead a just and equitable life.
    It is societies and Charities, which together with associations in our society who help pave the way for the groups of people and residents of the UK who are willing to share the responsibility of that ‘Personal Vision’, and are encouraged and do actively take part in that association of ‘Goals’ Not an own ‘Goal’ but a shared goal.
    As the saying goes’ One may reap what one sows’

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