Thursday, May 10, 2018

Caring for our elderly and vulnerable?

The plight of disabled and elderly people has been laid bare in a damning report exposing that care home residents go without meals and left unwashed for months on end.

“It is beyond dispute that our adult social care system is now broken and fundamentally unfit for purpose. Today, over a million older and disabled people are struggling every day without the basic care and support they require,” the letter states. “Families and friends are being pushed to breaking point as they are having to step in when care is desperately needed but is not being provided.”  

80 charities urge Jeremy Hunt to “act now” after the findings revealed one in five care residents had gone without meals and a quarter have gone without basic needs such as washing, getting dressed and going to the toiletThe survey also found that one in four people needed hospital treated, while one in eight had been delayed leaving hospital because of not being able to get the care they need. Sixteen per cent of cared-for respondents had had their care packages reduced despite their needs having increased or remained the same, while four in 10 said they felt lonely or isolated.

One respondent said, “I haven’t been washed for over two months. My bedroom floor has only been vacuumed once in three years,” said the care home resident. “My sheets have not been changed in about six months, and my pyjamas haven’t been changed this year. My care workers don’t have time for cleaning, washing or changing me.”

The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) found little evidence that the existing, lightly regulated private care market was helping to deliver care in an affordable manner.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK and co-chair of the Care and Support Alliance (CSA), said: “The experiences of thousands of people in this survey are damning evidence that that our adult social care system is broken and unfit for purpose. It is especially worrying to have heard stories from people whose care has been cut, even though their needs have either stayed the same or got worse. And the reality is that care cuts aren’t saving the Government money, the NHS is picking up the bill as people are pushed into ill health and crisis because of a lack of basic help."

Mark Lever, chief executive of the National Autistic Society and co-chair of the CSA, said inadequate care was now a “common problem across the country”, emphasising that it was “those who need care and their families who are paying the highest price...The stories of frustration and heartache we heard are all too common. Regardless of someone’s condition or age people should be getting care so they can live safely and with dignity,” he added.

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