I read this interesting article about care worker training in The Guardian today, in the light of the recent Panorama programme and the publication tomorrow of the Kingsmill report into working conditions in the care sector.

Whilst I applaud what it is asking, that more funding is delivered into the care sector for training, I think that it is ignoring the most crucial aspect of what these dreadful Panorama programmes and other care stories highlight- the lack of ‘care’ in the care sector.

You can given people as many NVQ’s as you want, put every single care home manager in the country through management training, but if fundamentally you have people working in the care sector who don’t care and have no empathy for those vulnerable people that they are caring for, then it is money wasted.

I started work as a carer aged 16, and had about two weeks training by shadowing senior workers, learning how to move and handle care home residents etc.  Back in the day (and we are talking 25 years ago) there was no specific dementia care training or indeed dementia care facilities for people, you simply looked after them to the best of your ability.

Thus it was with Mrs A, who, in the later stages of dementia, you could have a battle with everyday to help her to get dressed, much like you would with a toddler.  Hence, everyday, as you were getting Mrs A dressed, you would explain to her how today, was our shopping day and we were off to to Harrods for some special shopping.  As you were getting her dressed, you talked about what you would look to buy, who else might be coming, how long it would take etc, etc.

None of this was arrived at via dementia training, but simply through common sense and having empathy with another human being’s choices and motivations.  That, ultimately, is what I believe care to be- listening to and understanding those vulnerable people you are caring for- it isn’t something that can be trained, and unfortunately, it seems to be increasingly something which is in short supply.

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A report by the Scottish Government has recommended that people suffering from long-term chronic illnesses who are treated in a care home or home care setting should have their funding cut.

The report recommended that only patients being treated in a hospital or NHS-funded care home should have their treatment paid for.

It said: “Only those individuals who are required to live in hospital should be exempted from charges relating to their accommodation.
“All other individuals, whatever their age or disability should contribute to the funding of accommodation costs, should their financial situation permit.”
This is quite a shocking state of affairs, and seems ill-thought out in terms of being a cost saving measure.  To keep a patient in a hospital bed costs more than £2,000 per week. To keep them in a care home or home care setting costs in the region of £700 per week, so how, pray tell, is this set to reduce costs?
Surely all that will happen is that patients will end up ‘bed-blocking’ in a hospital setting for much longer than they currently are which will only compound the current funding and staffing crisis in the NHS?

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Should CCTV cameras be used in care homes? Should CCTV cameras be used in care homes?

In response to the programme, HC-One, who are one of the care home groups featured in the programme, are considering placing CCTV cameras into its’c are homes.

On the surface of it, this might seem like a sensible idea, after all, it can only help to further the safeguarding of vulnerable care home residents, isn’t that right?

Well, actually no, I don’t think it is right.  To start with, from a practical point of view, how will the monitoring of these cameras work?  Will a care home manager now be expected to turn up to work and review the security cameras from the previous day in order to ensure there is nothing undercover going on in their care home?

 

Equally, are these security cameras going to be installed in every room in a care home?  If so, then they can lead to abuse of a very different sort, and if not, then unfortunately, those who are determined to abuse, will abuse.

It also springs to mind that the use of these cameras will actually lead to more complacency, not less.  Is it not better to be encouraging care home managers to regularly be spending time with their residents and staff, so that they can become a ware of those tell-tale giveaway signs that something is just not right, rather than be holed up in an office as increasingly they are these days staring at blurry video footage in case there is something wrong ?

There is definitely a place for security cameras, but that place is when there is a level of suspicion which needs evidence, which is how they have been used with positive results in recent years.  They should never however, be seen as a substitute for good management in a care home.

 

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Care home residents in West Berkshire enjoy private concerts

April 27, 2014

Four care homes in West Berkshire were treated to their own private music concerts by talented musicians recently. The four care homes, Notrees Care Home in Kintbury, Chestnut Walk Care Home in Hungerford, the Willows Edge Care Home in Shaw and Walnut Close Care Home in Thatcham, received the concerts as part of a Music in […]

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Esther Rantzen praises work of dementia care teams

April 27, 2014

Esther Ranzten, Older People’s Champion and founder of  The Silver Line, a telephone advice service for older people, praised the work of several carers in East Lancashire in relation to their work for dementia care recently. Care staff from Great Harwood, Rossendale, Burnley and Clitheroe were among the winners at the Lancashire Workforce Development Partnership […]

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