16 March 2012
Which? have revealed how older people are suffering "disgraceful" home care following an undercover investigation carried out by the consumer group.
The group asked 30 people or their carers to keep diaries over the course of a week throughout January detailing their experiences.
The results included missed medication and confinement to soiled beds, missed visits, food placed out of reach and vulnerable people left without a way of getting to the bathroom.
Which? declined to name the agencies providing the home care, also known as domiciliary care, by paid workers, saying it wants to protect those who gave feedback.
A daughter told Which?: " I can't express how angry I feel at the carers. There is a printed note on the front door about putting a light on at 4pm as well as a note from me in the kitchen beside the care book. It is also in the care plan. What more can I do?"
47% of respondents able to answer a question about visits said at least one had been missed in the past six months, while 62% of those had not been warned in advance.
Alison Millar from Leigh Day & Co who is a specialist in elderly abuse cases said: “Being a paid carer is much more than simply a job, it has to be a vocation for those who sign up to look after vulnerable older people. They must understand the huge obligations of the job and the critical lifeline they provide for those in their care.”
“This is the latest report to spotlight the poor care that older and disabled people endure both within care facilities and when care is administered in the home. All these reports point to systematic problems with the care services the UK provides, in terms of recruitment and training, and this needs addressing urgently.”
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "The Government can no longer claim to be shocked as report after report highlights the pitiful state of care for older people. If they are serious about ensuring vulnerable people are treated with dignity, then we must see real action because every day they delay is another day older people risk being neglected."
Age UK charity director general Michelle Mitchell said: "While many careworkers work hard to provide compassionate care, the under-funding of the social care system is resulting in a serious reduction of domiciliary care, which can put both the health and dignity of older people at risk.
"Good home care must begin and end with the needs of individuals rather than focusing on a tick box of tasks to be completed within a set time."
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