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Healthwatch England: too few care homes getting the basics right

Too many care homes are under so much pressure that they are not 'getting the basics right every time', a care consumer watchdog has warned.
care

Too many care homes are under so much pressure that they are not 'getting the basics right every time', a care consumer watchdog has said.

Healthwatch England said some residents were cared for by rushed staff and were having to put up with things such as being put in someone else's clothes and rotting window sills, peeling wallpaper and dead house plants in communal areas.

Care homes must provide a 'home from home' service, the consumer champion said.

Rushed off their feet

Following visits to 197 care homes across England between January 2016 and April this year, Healthwatch drew up a snapshot of what care looked like for people in the nation's care homes.

While the majority of

Too many care homes are under so much pressure that they are not 'getting the basics right every time', a care consumer watchdog has said.

care
Complaints about care homes included dead house plants – though the report
acknowledged that some staff were 'rushed off their feet'. Picture: Alamy

Healthwatch England said some residents were cared for by rushed staff and were having to put up with things such as being put in someone else's clothes and rotting window sills, peeling wallpaper and dead house plants in communal areas.

Care homes must provide a 'home from home' service, the consumer champion said.

Rushed off their feet

Following visits to 197 care homes across England between January 2016 and April this year, Healthwatch drew up a snapshot of what care looked like for people in the nation's care homes.

While the majority of residents spoken to by Healthwatch representatives said care was good, others highlighted concerns with their care home.

In a new report, Healthwatch said care home residents were picking up on the strain the system is under and were not always given the person-centred care they were entitled to expect from staff, some of whom were 'rushed off their feet'.

Concerns highlighted

Some of the examples highlighted in the report include:

  • One resident saying that call bells for assistance to go to the toilet could go unanswered for an hour.
  • Problems with cleanliness, wallpaper peeling off the wall in one home, dead house plants and rotten window sills.
  • One resident saying 'laundry is not always returned and is worn by others'.
  • In some homes residents were given a broad range of activities but in others it was 'television or television'.
  • Some residents faced 'barriers' when trying to access care from a GP or dentist.
  • The authors of the report said too few homes are getting the basics right every time, adding: 'While homes are under financial pressure, clearing away dead plants or ensuring that laundry goes back to the right person need not cost a lot of money.'

Raising standards

Healthwatch England national director Imelda Redmond said: 'It's not easy running a care home, particularly as the sector as a whole is trying to get to grips with the dual challenge of managing rising demand with limited resources.

'But getting the basics right doesn't have to cost the earth and should be the least we should all be able to expect for our loved ones and ourselves should we need care support.'

A Department of Health spokesperson said it had introduced tougher inspections of care services to drive up standards, provided an additional £2 billion for social care, and committed to consult on the future of social care to ensure sustainability in the long term.

'We are also working with organisations from across the social care sector to implement Quality Matters, a shared commitment to high quality, person-centred adult social care.'


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