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.

What is independence?

March 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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The digital world is a wonderful place to share ideas and thoughts. Earlier today Ruth Amos inventor of StairSteady proposed the question, ‘what does independence mean for you and your customers?’ as part of a project to find out the meaning of independence to different people and businesses.

Here at Bath-Knight independence is a treasured way of life which we hope to enhance. Often my customers yearn to remain living independently in their own homes, which is why I get so much pleasure from knowing that my products, especially the Bath-Knight bath lift, are designed and used as tools to enable independent living for older people.

elderly couple living independently

Independence - living life as you desire

I have always been an advocate in encouraging older people to remain in their homes for as long as possible and this is because too often we hear horror stories regarding quality of care in elderly care facilities. More recently this poor service has been coupled with extortionate cost that far outreach funds available to an elderly people or their family.

This substandard quality of care has resulted in thousands petitioning for the government to take action. Today 60 charities including Age UK and Joseph Rowntree Foundation are lobbying MP’s at Westminster, urging the government to reform the current care system into a service which is of high quality, cost effective and accessible to all.

These lacking qualities in our current care system seemingly strip away any independence for people receiving such care. I often question why an increased focus isn’t put on the ways to enable elderly people to remain in their own homes for longer. Simple and thought-out modification can enable the freedom of independent living which integrates both safety and quality of life for elderly people.

So for me the premise of independence is the ability to live life as you desire with the freedom and choice to live at home. Growing older should not become a problem instead we should celebrate this feat of longevity together and adapt our lifestyles accordingly.

Happy 4th July – Celebrating with our favourite all American recipes!

July 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Happy 4th of July to everyone in the United States! We’re celebrating America’s Independence Day from the other side of the pond with our favourite American recipes- Perfect for a 4th of July celebratory BBQ or picnic with friends and family. Enjoy!

Happy 4th of July Recipes

Websites of the Week 6th-10th June 2011

June 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Annette's websites of the week

Walk the Walk- MoonWalk

Unfortunately I’m not taking part in the MoonWalk in Edinburgh on Saturday due to injury but I have to commend the MoonWalk website because it really is a great source of information for anyone who is taking part.

The bright pink site is packed full of inspiration for walkers. From great photos which showcase decorated bras- a wonderful way of finding ideas for decorating your own, videos, a blog, forums and most importantly training plans and advice.

I was especially impressed to see the ‘Walking Pals Search’ tool, which allows participants to find fellow MoonWalkers who live locally; incredibly handy for finding a training partner or company for the MoonWalk night itself.

Finally the site is great because it arranged each walker an online fundraising page- saving you essential training time and making it easy to spread the word and get people sponsoring. My daughter Lucy is off to Scotland tonight in preparation for the MoonWalk so a huge GOOD LUCK! – Sponsor Lucy here.

Independent Living

I’ve included Independent Living to my ‘Websites of the Week’ as earlier this week I read the sites blog by Frances Leckie and was really impressed.

independent living

International Symbol of Access- Time to get Positive?  particularly caught my attention as it debates the need for modernising the way which society displays disabilities. This article speaks specificall

y about the symbol of access which I am sure you are all familiar will- the blue and white pictogram often featured on disabled parking bays etc…

The blog seems to be a hit and importantly gets lots of readers talking and leaving comments, which I find really interesting as they provide for great discussion and show a really interest in the subject area.

Stumble Upon

If you’re new to the internet or struggling for ideas as to what you should browse for Stumble Upon is an excellent place to start.

stumble upon

Simply sign up and select your interest, which can be anything from arts and crafts, music, religions, gardening, sports, photography, news and lots, lots more. Then you stumble or in more simple terms the site directs you to different websites which match your interests.

I’m new to the Stumble Upon and I can’t believe how many fabulous sites I’ve come across. Today I’ve found a great blog filled with delicious recipes and articles which told more about how to make the most out of my E-Reader. I wouldn’t have found either if I hadn’t Stumbled.

Note that any sites you find and like can be saved so that you can revisit at your leisure.

Southern Cross Healthcare failure: Care Homes- My thoughts

June 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Today’s news has revealed that Southern Cross Healthcare has lost a huge 311 million pounds in the 6 months leading up to March. The government are now left to implement a so called ‘rescue plan’ to the 30,000 elderly care home residents whose futures are in question.

Southern Cross HealthcareThe failure of Southern Cross Healthcare not only leaves a heavy burden on the government and residents but a question mark around care service in general; from cost of living in residential care, quality of staff, level of facilities and equipment and above all how residential care can be funded efficiently.

In my opinion the Sothern Cross Healthcare situation is terrible. The thought of thousands of elderly, and in the majority of cases vulnerable patients being left in the lurch is absurd. So forth as to why I am pro living at home, and independently where possible.

There are many arguments against elderly people living at home with many points being made present in media coverage. Some argue that elderly people, who live alone become isolated, depressed and have little help or social interaction. In some cases this is true; however I am a firm believer in independent living.

I am personally a huge advocate for encouraging and implementing help for the elderly who chose to live independently. From helping them get connected with family and friends online to developing the Bath-Knight to provide a product for the home which enables longer independence.

I believe that with the right support network, suitable facilities and a balanced lifestyle which takes account of health care, necessities and well-being when growing old living at home can be extremely beneficial.

Independent living

Many elderly people become fearful of a new environment such as a care facility. They enjoy living at home as it harbours fond memories and is a safe place which they are familiar with.   

Some reading my view may immediately note down the cons to living independently stating that busy lives of family and friends mean caring for elderly relatives is often too difficult. Or the home environment just isn’t suitable for the needs of an elderly person. Such are all very true points, and in some cases can’t be overcome. However things which can be easily adjusted to suit living independently can leave fantastic results for all.  

I can only hope that The South Cross Healthcare shame has proven that care homes are not always the safe haven for the elderly. As although many offer suitable standards of care the security of such facilities now seem to be in jeopardy.

For many living at home would be a far more dignified way to lead their lives, which I am sure you can agree with.

Is 100 old anymore?

February 2, 2011 at 10:05 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Eunice Sanborn

Today I read that the world’s oldest woman, Eunice Sanborn from Texas died at the age of 114. Apparently Eunice enjoyed sitting outside of her home in Jacksonville where she has lived for 75 years. Now American pensioner Besse Cooper from Georgia takes the title of the world’s oldest woman; Besse is also 114 years old.

I think that it is extraordinary how long people are living nowadays. This is one of the reasons why I think we should be encouraging independent living, enabling elderly people to stay in their own homes for longer.

With many people surpassing the age of 100 The Queen has her work cut out sending so many birthday wishes to all our British centenarians.

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