Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Care homes 3

This is not so much a story as some observations on care homes...though please bear in mind that the period I'm talking about was 20 years ago....it might be different now.
There was a time when most care homes were run by the council which obviously meant that the actual building might be pretty basic...and badly funded.
The whole thing was then thrown over to "choice" Private owners bought up many homes and for the first time they were run as businesses . The profit motive became more important than the care offered.
The greedy inevitable moved in.
One small home in Essex had a much higher total of deaths than the others....we discovered that the proprietor of the home had another job....she was a nurse and her inmates were left sedated on their own every day as she went to do her proper job.
Many former council run homes were taken over by people whose motive was profit and the elderly in their care started to notice that shortcuts were taken.  One man who was very apologetic had had four toilet seats in a year. They had all broken because he was slightly over weight.....he asked me to tell them to get him a better quality toilet seat because it hurt to sit on the jagged edge of the broken ones....he showed me the evidence......
The most beautiful home I ever saw was a private one, for the higher income end of society.
The whole place was well kept, and they had a choice of menu every day with some scrumptious looking food.
As by this time I was talking to everyone I always asked if they had any complaints.
One couple asked to see me privately...I agreed thinking it must be serious if they couldn't say it in front of the others....
They were upset.  Could I not tell them....the staff , that they should not be kept waiting to get on the mini coach whilst the wheel chairs were let on first.
"We have to stand out side for at least ten minutes each time. Its really not on...can you do something?"
I thought of all the people I'd seen whose lives had become a burden and who were grateful for everything they had...
I didn't say anything like that but told them I couldn't interfere with arrangements for wheel chairs....it was beyond my scope.  They were pretty disgruntled!
At another home I saw a very old lady being wheeled along the corridor in the strap arrangement for lowering into the bath. She was completely naked...no dignity there at all.
My recollections end here with the last story.
At the same care home I was talking to another very old lady where her parrot was chatting away in the background...suddenly it gave a shriek, fell off its perch where it hung suspended by its claws.
Despite me and the assistants trying to give it the kiss of life it had in fact died....
Never lived it down...
I would like to believe that in this cash strapped world care home are now well run, the inmates cared for and loved and that all is well. Certainly the homes I visit here in Cornwall fall into that category...and there but for the grace of God......I started this after seeing the programme on the TV last week....I shall move on now to other more up to date things.....hopefully.


  1. Thankyou for this post - your article is really sensitive towards the subject of quality care for people with mental health needs. This care home can provide information about what help they can provide.
    Care homes in Kent

  2. Thank you Jack......I will leave this post in place....in case anyone else wants to look but as I now live in Cornwall there is no point in looking at homes in Kent...

  3. You touch on some good points in your post here. I think any questions are best answered by a professional. This care home put some of my worries to bed.
    Nursing Homes Kent