Category: Caring Times letters


Pressure is on providers to lift standards

Posted on July 28th, by geoff in Caring Times letters. Comments Off on Pressure is on providers to lift standards

Caring Times, July/August 2014

While it is far too early to predict the exact measures and outcomes the Care Act will have on social care in England, it is already evident that CQC is taking a tougher line on what it sees as being inadequate care. These tougher changes seem to be coming through already, although I cannot find anyone outside CQC who seems to know what these changes are.

Before 1st April, our records indicated CQC had an average ‘failure’ rate, that’s failing to meet one or more of their core five standards, of 28%. Through April we’ve seen this ‘failure’ rate jump to 40%. CQC is determined to drive up the quality of care and the standards within the care sector substantially.

Whatever our individual opinions, we need to recognise the powers CQC has and appreciate that its intentions are for … Read More »


‘Gratitude Coupons’ would motivate staff

Posted on July 28th, by geoff in Caring Times letters. Comments Off on ‘Gratitude Coupons’ would motivate staff

Caring Times, July/August 2014

After weeks at home, with two lumbar surgeries on the same disc, I spent three weeks at a “care” facility, where (in my opinion, and that of my wife), I was medically neglected. It was with a great sense of relief that I went home.

Once home, at first, my thoughts were of revenge: I’ll get that burnt-out doctor back (legally he hadn’t done anything wrong, but morally, he had), I’ll sue the facility (my treatment or lack thereof didn’t constitute lawsuit material).

Then, I thought of practical ways to make care better: the care workers should carry a little pad of forms, and when a patient requests something, they take a page off the pad and document it. That way, the care would be made to be better. This was perhaps a little better idea, but it ran … Read More »


Quality improvement systems are key to delivering good care

Posted on July 28th, by geoff in Caring Times letters. Comments Off on Quality improvement systems are key to delivering good care

Caring Times, July/August 2014

We have seen another disturbing programme on Panorama on BBC television – ‘Behind closed doors: elderly care exposed’. We must make sure no one has the experiences the programme portrayed.

Don’t install cameras in care homes! Cameras will not prevent abuse when intimate care is being delivered if the circumstances are present to allow abuse to happen. We know what circumstances allow poor care and abuse to pervade – numerous reports have been published about this. We know what good care looks like, for example, as set out in the research which initiated the My Home Life programme.

We already know what it takes to create a good care home, for example:

It’s all about a person centred culture, managed by a skilled leader (not just a manager).
Well motivated, kind, understanding and compassionate staff – personality is the key.
Well trained … Read More »


NHS nurses needed in the independent sector

Posted on July 28th, by geoff in Caring Times letters. Comments Off on NHS nurses needed in the independent sector

Caring Times, July/August 2014

Having worked in the care industry for more than 30 years, as well as holding numerous roles on industry boards, the most important thing I have learned is that without good staff, you are never going to be successful in care.

That’s why it’s so important to recruit, train and keep the best nurses – and finding those nurses is a challenge that the entire private sector faces. Despite large scale cuts to the NHS – figures from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) show the NHS has lost nearly 4,000 senior nursing posts since 2010 as it aims to save £20bn by 2015 – we are not seeing the flow from the public to the independent sector that would be expected.

As Yorkshire chair of The Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) I know that most care homes in … Read More »


DoLs ruling defies common sense

Posted on May 29th, by geoff in Caring Times head, Caring Times letters. No Comments

Caring Times letters, June 2014

Are we confused about the this ruling regarding deprivation of liberty for clients with dementia (CT, May 2014)? I should say so. It seems unfair to place the blame for the DoL of a person at the door of the care home when it is actually the illness such as dementia that has taken aware the person’s ability to make rational decisions and not the care home.

We are told by inspectors, families and the law that we have a “duty of care” to ensure a person is safe and not at risk of harm to themselves or others. We do this by monitoring their whereabouts and ensuring they don’t walk out on to a busy road. But now I am told that those risk assessments I have in place to ensure a person’s safety are depriving … Read More »


Acknowledge bad feelings and pay properly for the job you want done

Posted on May 29th, by geoff in Caring Times head, Caring Times letters. No Comments

Caring Times Letters, June 2014

Having watched yet another expose of care homes (Panorama, 30th May) and heard the renewed determination of all and sundry to put a stop to neglect and abuse wherever it occurs, I am saddened and frustrated by the continued failure of government and the social care establishment to feel and think, and accept responsibility.

The potential for neglect and abuse is inherent in care, whether at home in a family or in a care home. When it comes to the difficult job of caring – paid or unpaid – there are no pure, caring feelings. Everyone has good and bad feelings about caring. We are human and flawed. Most of us, most of the time, can manage to keep the bad feelings in check. But put us to work in an understaffed care home, on low wages, … Read More »


Documentation and a culture of fear

Posted on May 29th, by geoff in Caring Times head, Caring Times letters. No Comments

Caring Times Letters, June 2014

I have just read John Burton’s article ‘Is it right to say that if it isn’t recorded, it isn’t done?’ (CT May 2014) and I felt compelled to write. I work in a care home and our company seems obsessed with recording. We have so many charts to prove that care has been given that they may well have created a monster. Over face care assistants with written work and, in my opinion, you run the risk of them filling gaps with things that haven’t actually happened.

One of the points which struck me from John’s article is “…the record does not prove the action” and what is more important – the action or the impression of the action? Documentation has its place but it worries me that the drive for it is creating a culture fearful … Read More »


Panorama – the pervasive taint of abuse

Posted on May 29th, by geoff in Caring Times head, Caring Times letters. No Comments

Caring Times Letters, June 2014

The recent revelations that BBC TV’s Panorama team brought to our television screens were heartbreaking – I was moved to tears. As head of the West Midlands Care Association, I applaud the brave whistleblowers, the dignity of victims’ families and the diligence of the programme makers, whose combined actions have hopefully instigated justice.

The documentary has now sparked an inquiry by Essex Police on the alleged abuse and an appeal made for members of the public, who wish to report allegations of crime relating to the hidden camera film footage, to come forward. Because the whole sorry business is under legal consideration I cannot truly express the comments I’d wish to address to the alleged offenders. But I do believe both personally and as the principal representative of my organisation, which supports private sector care providers throughout … Read More »


Safeguarding – where is the accountability?

Posted on May 29th, by geoff in Caring Times head, Caring Times letters. No Comments

Caring Times Letters, June 2014

A few weeks ago, nearly two years after the death in hospital of a resident of a care home in Burnley (Palatine Lodge), the Coroner found natural causes as the reason for her death. There was no finding of fault in relation to her care preceding her sad death and no further investigation in relation to the home.

Much earlier, a police investigation had been wound up with no further action and a CQC investigation had found no issues to do with the quality of care in the home. A safeguarding investigation held by Lancashire County Council had similarly not identified any safeguarding fault on the part of the provider.

Shortly after the initial phase of the safeguarding investigation all of the other residents of the home were moved to alternative accommodation and all staff suspended. After the … Read More »


Let people make their rooms their own

Posted on April 22nd, by geoff in Caring Times head, Caring Times letters. No Comments

Caring Times, May 2014

I have just been reading John Burton’s article ‘do residents have the right to do as they like in their own rooms?’ (CT March, 2014). I couldn’t agree with you more! I am the general manager at an Elizabeth Finn Home, The Lodge in Exeter.

I have 46 frail older people in my care. When we welcome a new resident to The Lodge it is with an (almost) unreserved agreement that the space they will own is just that. The only proviso I feel bound to make is that, should we have need to make a resident safe if they fall for instance, then we should be able to reach them quickly.

Other than that, I feel I have no right to impinge upon a person that may well have been independent for the last 75 years or so. … Read More »



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