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June 23, 2011

Elderly Suffer As Carers are Not Given Time to do their Job (UK)

2 June 2011 09:00
The watchword was supposed to be dignity, but as Sarah Freeman reports, yet another report has exposed the failures in care of the elderly.
Initially Geraldine Stone was relieved when she was told her elderly mother, in the advanced stages of Huntington’s disease, was eligible for home help.
Her father was struggling to cope and with Geraldine working full-time and living some 30 miles away from her parents’ home, outside intervention seemed like a lifeline. The reality was very different.
“The ladies who provided the home help often lived some miles away,” says Geraldine.
“They weren’t paid for their travelling time and by the time they arrived they were often exhausted themselves.
“If they weren’t able to get to a shift, it often went without cover. Mornings were often difficult and frequently my mother was put to bed at 5.30pm and not changed, given food or drink until lunchtime the next day. She would lie in a soaking bed, dehydrated and hungry.
“My elderly father would sometimes try to manually lift her and change her, but it simply wasn’t possible for someone acting alone. The carers were supposed to feed my mother and give her drinks, but often they just left it by her bedside because there wasn’t time to sit with her while she ate.”
Huntington’s is a degenerative disease and as the condition worsens, sufferers need 4,000 calories a day to just maintain their body weight. Swallowing food can be difficult and one meal can take up to an hour to eat and digest.
Unfortunately, time was the one thing the home helps assigned to Geraldine’s mother did not have.
Each was contracted to spend just 30 minutes at the home and, with little continuity of care, unsurprisingly her mother’s condition began to deteriorate.
“It was terrible,” says Geraldine. “Her weight fell to just 7st, but no-one seemed to be able to do anything.
“I lost count of the number of head injuries my mother had falling out of her bed before she was given one with partial sides. My mother did not receive care at all, never mind appropriate care.”
After appealing her case, Geraldine did eventually manage to secure her mother a place in specialist residential care, but her experience with the home help service left her wondering just how many other vulnerable elderly people are being left to fend for themselves.
“There is not time to change someone who is doubly incontinent and give them food and drink in 30 minutes,” she says. “There is not time to chat and be a friend to someone who is lonely. Care in the community may work where there are other family members present in the home at all times and the care needs are minimal, but it has to adapt to individual needs.
“Unfortunately our family’s experience showed it to be completely inflexible.”
Stories like Geraldine’s will form the basis of an inquiry into the state of elderly home care which is being carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
The full report will be published later this year, but its interim findings, which claim some people are regularly left for 17 hours, while others are at risk of malnutrition, suggest that it’s unlikely to be a glowing verdict.
At present, more than one million people receive care and support in their own home compared to an estimated 173,000 in residential care and the numbers look set to increase.
By 2051, there will be 15.8 million people aged 65 or over, a rise of 91 per cent compared with 2008 and the Government is keen to allow people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible.
“Against a backdrop of budget cuts and public sector reform, local authorities are playing an ever-decreasing role as direct producers or funders of care and support with the majority of older people receiving care from private and voluntary sector and individuals,” says Neil Crowther, the commission’s human rights director.
“However, in the process it would seem older people’s basic human rights are being overlooked.
“In gathering our evidence we have uncovered many worrying cases – from a woman who recorded having 32 different carers in just two weeks to people being left in soiled beds and clothes.
“The very brief time allocated to homecare visits does not allow even the basic essential tasks to be done properly. As a result, people sometimes have to choose between having a cooked meal or a wash.
“Many are too scared to complain and have low expectations about the quality of care they are entitled to.
“Basic rights are being undermined and it’s something that must be addressed.”



SOURCE:     The Yorkshire Post, UK
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Another report is called for. Heard that before? Yes, it is happening around the world. Whenever there is a public outcry - in this case -  Aged Care; the government of the day, usually calls for a report. Then when the report is finished (which could take months or years to complete), the government would just file the report in their library!


Come On ! Enough is enough. The trend is very similar, in many countries; the vulnerable elderly are just NOT been taken care of, properly. 
Another thing that we all know: Poor economic times 'calls for austerity measures'. Guess what? Government usual spending cuts often target the old and frail. 
You don't see that happening in your country? You must be from a different planet. 


My apologies for this outburst. But, enough is enough !!!


............................. Andrew

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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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