Author Archives: Brenda Bond

The scandal of older people’s “care”

The EHRC has published a shocking report highlighting yet another area of neglect and cuts in levels of service. This time it’s homecare, and reliable reports of people being left in wet and soiled beds for hours on end, waiting for a care worker to arrive and help them – often with just 15 minutes allocated for the work.

The temptation is to blame the care worker, who is surely recruited, trained and paid to ”care” . I have commented, raised concerns, blogged and generally got on my soap box about these issues many times. There are several pertinent points to make:

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The cold kills

According to the BBC News, winter weather alerts aimed at helping vulnerable people during cold snaps are to be introduced in England:

“Under the new arrangements, the Met will issue alerts depending on the severity of the conditions. In total, there will be four alerts, each of which will ask local agencies, including NHS trusts and councils, to carry out certain duties. For example, at level three, which would have been reached last winter, health and social care staff should consider daily visits to the most vulnerable.”

Can someone tell me please, where the people and money are going to come from for daily visits to the most vulnerable?

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Health records and online access

A couple of us attended a meeting the other day in which one of the presentations promoted a pilot scheme to give people access to their GP records online. It sounded great… until we started to think through the potential for abuse. Our questions about security were acknowledged as valid, especially in light of recent failures in the massive NHS IT system developments. But there had clearly been little thought about issues closer to home.

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Update on learning disability and dementia

I was chuffed recently to discover that people read and appreciate my blogs on this site – so I’m inspired to do an update of a subject I spoke about in July. The fact is that people with learning disabilities are living longer but sadly many are developing dementia as they age – as many as 54 per cent of people with Downs aged 60-65 have dementia. So I started asking questions about social care and health preparations for this “new” client group.

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The Great Cheque Sham

The banks are proclaiming that they have “saved cheques” and all is well with the world. This is one of the great cons of our time, in my opinion. Who is going to accept a cheque in a shop or garage etc with no guarantee of payment? The abolition of cheque guarantee through your card is effectively the end of cheques.

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Anti-competitive practice

The restriction of choice in personal budgets is unfair, unethical and potentially unlawful. But it is happening in a number of ways.

Southwark Council have decreed that SUs can only use council-managed personal budgets for services contracted by the council. If people want to use a service with which the council does not have a contract, they have to manage the budget themselves. This effectively means that, for instance, when voluntary sector homecare and day care contracts end, only those older people who are able and willing to take and manage a direct payment can access our services.

I believe this to be unethical and have asked the Public Law Project whether it is also unlawful. Any knowledge or views would be gratefully received.

 

Learning disability, ageing and dementia

Recent research seems to be indicating an emerging new issue in social care. As is often the case, a medical triumph – people with learning disability living longer – is coupled with the challenge of meeting new needs in older age. It is now estimated that up to 50 per cent of people with Downs Syndrome, for instance, may develop dementia as they age. Are we ready for this new challenge? Will people who have grown up in the adult social care “system” be adequately supported into older peoples services? And crucially, will the money be available for their needs to be met properly?

Loneliness can be a killer too

Day care centres are under attack. They are viewed by some local authorities as an outdated, expensive form of care. But the people who attend our day care in Lewisham and Southwark, and their carers, tell me they love it, they are happier, it improves their quality of life and their carers are able to have a break and / or continue working.

For myself, I know that I subsist on toast and other comfort foods when I eat alone. I also know that I get bored and boring very quickly if I don’t have anything outside the house to talk about.

I’ve heard it said that homecare services provide friendship and company and certainly our own homecare workers try to do this and have very good relationships with their Service Users. But time and cost constraints mean they are in and out of people’s homes in a short space of time with a number of critical tasks to complete in the time allocated.  Continue reading