England undermined by “commodification of care” for dependent older people

His uncle, Michael Pearce, had only been in a care home near Bristol for a few months when Ian Moss began to feel unwell in 2013. “I found him unshaven, wearing a dirty T-shirt. And when I mentioned it to the staff, they replied in an annoyed tone that they were doing their best, as if that excused them. » One day, when he arrived at the room, the smell of urine hit him in the throat: the old man’s catheter had overflowed. When Mr Moss was startled, the rapporteur first replied that it was a tip before admitting the obvious. After several complaints, particularly to the care home regulator, Mr Moss ended up moving his uncle to another home in 2017.

Toni Kirlew, Be Caring's caregiver, makes a cup of coffee along with some medicine at Barry Ingle's home in Leeds, England.

After a year when everything was going well, under the supervision of an excellent director, the situation worsened again. Mr. Pearce was constantly dehydrated and frequently vomited. Fearing abuse, her nephew installed a hidden camera in the bedroom. The videos show carers being a bit brutal towards this old man suffering from senile dementia, annoyed by his complaints, annoyed by the traces of excrement on his face or mocking the fact that he was never married…

Mr. Moss again appealed to the regulator, his deputy and even the police. Only the latter really took the time to investigate. Conclusion: although “the quality of care appears to have been well below the expected level”, the abuse was too limited to fall under the law. Mr. Moss transferred her uncle to two other homes until his death in early 2021. From this painful history he draws an alarming observation: aged care in Britain is in serious crisis. “Nursing assistants are not trained enough, there are not enough of them, their wages are too low… And nursing homes do everything they can to make as much money as possible. »

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Eileen Chubb hears such testimonies almost daily. In 2003, this former carer created Compassion in Care, an association to receive complaints from families or carers. For almost two decades, she has collected calls from 9,000 families and 10,000 employees and identified many dramatic cases: neglected patients, little or no nutrition, diapers that are slow to be changed… Or the ordeal of ‘an elderly person, whose wound has become so infected that worms have developed there. ” It’s incredible, is indignant Mme Chubb. Our society is advanced, yet we are unable to take care of vulnerable people. »

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