Posted on 13/02/2013

Elderly Suffer from Poor Standards of Care

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Elderly Suffer from Poor Standards of Care

Care of the elderly criticised

According to recent reports, a quarter of home-care services in England providing care for the elderly fail to meet both quality and safety standards. Over 700,000 people above 65 rely on home help for everyday activities such as washing and eating. The evidence of ‘rushed appointments and botched assessments’ was highlighted by the Care Quality Commission during a review of 250 services and seems to be a sign of just how much pressure the care system is under.

On Monday, ministers announced their plans for a £75,000 cap on the amount elderly citizens will need to pay for care, with only the poorest getting it free of charge. Aiming to stop elderly people from having to sell their homes to pay for care, the move does nothing to inject extra funds into the system, something which the sector believes is essential if it is to improve the quality of care offered.

Home help services are considered an essential – helping to keep people out of care homes which are much more expensive. Providers are split more or less evenly between self-funders and those who receive council-funded care. The review looked at both, and found that too many were finding it hard to maintain standards - 26% failed in at least one area.

The most common issues that were highlighted related to time-keeping. Carers were late, rushed or missed visits entirely. Assessment-wise, important information was missed including the diagnosis of diabetes. Care records were found to be incomplete, meaning problems such as pressure ulcers were easily missed by those providing care.

There were also complaints raised about the way in which services were monitored and complaints handled. The regulator said home care providers needed to work closely with local authorities to find a fix to these problems. Warning that the problems identified could have a “significant impact” on the elderly, it is an area that has received fierce criticism over the past 18 months.

Michelle Mitchell from Age UK stated that “there must be a zero-tolerance attitude to poor, neglectful care” while Councillor David Rogers from the Local Government Association said they were trying to “stamp out poor performance”.

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