Panorama Undercover: Elderly Care

April 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Panorama is no stranger to unveiling shocking truths. Only last year an undercover investigation by Panorama resulted in a police investigation and the arrest of carer workers at a Bristol care facility where ill treatment of patients with learning disabilities was caught on camera.

Last night Panorama unearthed the story of Maria Worroll. An elderly lady who suffers from Alzheimer’s and was a resident at Ash Court care home in North London where she should have received full time care. 

Only six weeks into Maria’s stay her daughter, Jane, noticed bruising on her mother’s body and felt that Maria had become increasing introverted and generally unhappy. Trying to work out why Maria felt this way Jane planted a secret camera in her mum’s room to see what care Maria was actually receiving.

fiona phillips, Maria and Jane Worroll

Fiona Phillips with Maria and Jane Worroll in Panorama

The footage is truly shocking. Maria’s care plan wasn’t followed correctly, she was forced fed and her wishes to receive personal care from female carers only were ignored. In only 2 nights worth of footage Maria was subject to neglect and both verbal and physical abuse.

Five carers were filmed in Maria’s room at Ash Court over the course of secret filming, each of them failed to communicate with her and none offered Maria any reassurance when she was clearly distressed. Instead Maria was isolated with no entertainment, the television was only switched on when carers wished to watch, and Maria’s needs appeared to be disregarded despite her Alzheimer’s.

Most distressingly was the physical abuse caught on film, Maria was slapped 6 times by a male carer, pushed and shoved around a bed and manhandled because it would appear that the carers didn’t care to use as hoist as required. Outrageous and shocking but sadly the reality of Maria’s experience.

Jane’s footage was shown to Ash Court management, Quality Care Commission and Forest Healthcare, the owners of Ash Court. Their responses to the footage seemed to me to be lacklustre. CQC’s report doesn’t publish the matter that a serious case of abuse to a vulnerable person occurred in a facility which they rated as ‘excellent’. And the Chief Executive of New Forest reported that 4 of the 5 would return to work after a training process to ensure similar incidents didn’t occur again, which simply doesn’t seem good enough.

Unsatisfied Jane took her footage to the police and social workers who lead an investigation and later charged the male carer, Jonathon Aquino, with assault and ill treatment. He will now serve 18 months in prison. After five months the 4 other carers in question were sacked from Ash Court.

Maria is now in a different care home where her needs are being attended to properly. She is happy, out of bed and able to enjoy her life once again. Panorama’s report, which was lead my Fiona Phillips was utterly devastating and has raises further questions as to whether care homes in Briton are providing thorough, reliable and genuine care for their residence or slipping into decline.

Although difficult to watch I hope that this episode of Panorama will put more emphasis on enabling elderly people to stay at home, independently, for as long as possible. As I truly believe that this could avoid such mindless abuse and neglect to vulnerable elderly people.

Watch Panorama Undercover: Elderly Care on BBC iPlayer now.

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Dilnot Report- 4th July 2011

July 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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elderly care home The much awaited Dilnot Report was this morning revealed in Parliament by economist Andrew Dilnot. The report, which the care community have anxiously anticipated, comes with sensible suggestions, reasonable figures and a realistic approach to the reforming our ‘broken’ care system.

The basis of the Dilnot report is to place a cap on the expenditure of care at £35,000.  This would mean that pensions and their families in need of care, either at home or in a residential facility, would only be expected to spend this amount. If any further expenditure occurred this would then be covered by the state.

Additionally, within the Dilnot report a second cap would also be enforced to ensure that supplementary costs were capped in an attempt to cut excessive expenditure on accommodation etc- this is particular prevalent with elderly who suffered from Alzheimer’s and in need of excessive care.

The reform’s obvious aim is to curb spending and try to eliminate the need for the elderly to sell their assets. As it stands currently the asset threshold is £23,250- the Dilnot reports suggests that this is too low, which I am unreservedly agree with. If the proposal went through this threshold would be increased to £100,000 meaning that less elderly would need to sell homes to pay for care, and importantly hold on to some of their assets whilst also receiving quality care.

I am sure that many will question where the funding will come from for the proposed plan, which is estimated to cost £2 billion a year. Dilnot has stated that taxes will of course be increased to cover the cost, hinting that this would maybe come from the elderly themselves.

I read a comment earlier today which said it was ‘unfair’ for an elderly person to be expected to pay more taxes. However, with an aging population and a higher life expectancy throughout I question where else the funding could be retained from? Additionally, with a capped expenditure it should be largely considered that creating a financial plan for later in life should, in turn become much clearer.

Overall the coalition are said to be in favour of the report, and importantly I think the report will be welcome within the caring community as a chance to reform what has sadly become a broken system. As Andrew Dilnot as said this could be a ‘once in a lifetime chance’ to make a crucial change.

For more information see ‘all you need to know about the Dilnot report’ by Guardian.co.uk

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