20 June 2011
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) () is undertaking an inquiry into the protection and promotion of human rights of older people in England who require or receive home-based care and support. The inquiry comes at a time when searching questions are being asked about the provision for older people in hospital, care homes and in the community. Disturbing reports have recently been published by the Care Quality Commission about the poor standards of care that elderly patients received in some hospitals, particularly in their nutritional care, and the attitude of some staff towards people in their care.
The EHRC’s inquiry into home care will investigate how well the home-based care and support system in England is protecting the rights of people over 65. The full report will be published in November 2011.
In gathering evidence, it has uncovered many worrying cases, for example:
- people being left in bed for 17 hours or more between care visits;
- failure to wash people regularly and provide people with the support they need to eat and drink;
- people being left in soiled beds and clothes for long periods;
- a high staff turnover meaning some people have a huge number of different carers performing intimate tasks such as washing and dressing. In one case a woman recorded having 32 different carers over a two week period.
The lack of dignity and respect and poor standards of care given to older people in the UK seems to be a wide-spread but reluctantly accepted phenomena, with elderly people and their families often afraid to complain about standards for fear of reprisal.
Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK, said the findings showed "serious neglect".
"Providing personal care for older people should not be about completing tasks in whatever is the quickest or cheapest way. Decent care is about looking after a fellow human being in the way that we would like to be cared for when we are older.
Leigh Day and elderly clients
Specialist human rights solicitors at Leigh Day have represented a number of elderly clients or their families who have received substandard, negligent or inappropriate care. The firm recently successfully secured compensation for some 100 families whose loved ones had received treatment at Stafford Hospital which directly caused or hastened their deaths, or hastened their deaths through gross and degrading treatment. If you have concerns about the treatment a family member has received and would like to speak to a lawyer please contact Alison Millar or Emma Jones on 020 7650 1200.
Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.