/ Health

Care homes are failing – but is it too hard to complain?

Portrait of an old man

Our undercover actors living in four care homes discovered many problems with the quality of care. So how can relatives know what’s going on – and how easy is it to complain when you suspect the worst?

Imagine the scene: you believe that the management in your relative’s care home is sub-standard. You decide to complain, but that complaint has to be made to the management.

As someone who writes about healthcare for a living, I know that it’s important to complain when things aren’t right. But as a relative I can totally understand why people might feel uncomfortable doing it.

I’ve had three grandparents in care homes. I saw my parents struggle over a number of years with trying to get numerous problems sorted.

Don’t get me wrong – most staff were brilliant and did their very best – but it’s very stressful when you feel like you’re the only person sticking up for a vulnerable relative. And you may worry that, if you raise any concerns, it’s your relative who will bear the brunt of any staff disquiet when you’re not there.

Which? investigates care homes

Our recent investigation put actors into four care homes to spend a week living as ‘residents’. They raised lots of worrying concerns in the four homes, as well as some good practice.

These included problems of poor nutrition, lack of activity and poor staff communication and skill, and even potential abuse by a staff member in one home. It made me wonder whether relatives knew about what was going on, and felt too inhibited to speak up, or hadn’t been taken seriously when they did?

Here the actors tell us about their experiences during their week undercover:

Where to go for help

The regulator in England, the Care Quality Commission, doesn’t have a remit to investigate individual complaints although it encourages relatives and residents to feed back direct.

If your relative is funded by the council, or if it’s about an abuse or ‘safeguarding’ issue, you can get the council involved. But if you’re paying for your own placement, your complaint will normally have to go direct to the provider.

The good news is that – since October last year – if you’re not satisfied with the home’s investigation, you can go to the Local Government Ombudsman and they can investigate your complaint. But you can normally only do this once you’ve complained to the home.

I’m concerned that the need to go direct to the home may put many relatives off making their views known, fearful of the consequences. I hope that the opportunity to go to the ombudsman if the complaint isn’t handled properly will make relatives feel more secure raising concerns – but what do you think?

What are your experiences – good and bad – of the quality of care in homes? Have you had difficulties making your complaint heard or have staff been open to discussing your concerns?

Comments
Guest
s.thomas says:
10 February 2014

We complained to my fathers nursing dementia care in north wales, it was a 77 bed home, We visited everyday having to feed him, and continually keep an eye. There were mice in the kitchen and food served to residents, we had evidence of this, residents left for over an hour not registering their food and it then being taken away, they lied the Tissue Viability nurse had been out when the medical records said she hadn’t, they said the Dietician had been out, all at a chc review and they hadn’t, the list was endless, so many more things, when we complained we were bullied, and then at our wits end with the mice and dads continual pain, complained to cssiw, within days we were served with notice to quit, 28 days, not letting the commissioners know or anything. It was horrendous, it was too late for dad who was now dying from bone cancer, they even ran out of his diamorphine 48 hours before he died, if we had not been staying on the floor of his room, to ensure he was safe and we had asked for the doctor again, we would not have known they had no diamorphine for his syringe driver. He died. Not one of those nurses said sorry. They were a disgrace, and we are still going through the complaints procedure, with all complaints so fare upheld. I saw cruelty and wickedness in that home like I never imagined existed.

Guest
Rosa gaziano says:
28 July 2016

I NOT surprising at all nothing better to be with family .they are there not to be loved only to stay under Control food what food .

Guest
Gerald says:
11 February 2014

S.THOMAS
You need to report all this to the NMC NURSING AND MIDWIFERY COUNCIL as I really believe that there has been proffessional misconduct. The Nurses in Charge are responcible for the are of care which you have quoted you need to botain their names and pin numbers.

Guest
Gerald says:
9 April 2014

Ny News have you taken my advice, I would really appreciate feed back

Guest
Gordon says:
4 June 2014

After the screening of the Panorama programme and other media expose’s it is high time that those who have sat on their hands have their say in what is becoming a national scandal.
Far too many providers of care are too interested in financial and capital gain. It is all very we’ll stating that residents care is the priority this is nothing short of hypocrisy and does not hold water.
My dear mother has vascular dementia and has been in residential care for 4 years. I was chairman of the relatives group at the home until I had to resign because of personal reasons unfortunately at the next meeting it was high jacked by the activities staff, which caused considerable consternation amongst the group to say the least.
It has to go down as one of the most despicable and disgraceful events I have ever witnessed in my lifetime.
My considered opinion of the care company is that they are parsimonious which lends itself by definition to them being very frugal. They do not invest in the area which should be of paramount importance and that is the care of residents and the carers who are employed by them .
It is true that they invest in the training of carers , however that is not what should be their main requirement it is caring staff being allowed quality time being-spent integrating, stimulating and bonding with residents which should be the focus and not bricks and mortar. Building new and extending homes which gives the impression that they care when it is a means of cash flow and income to generate more funds for more building projects.
The image and perception that is in my view being created by the philosophy of the company is such that it is masking the fact that they are unrealistic and unaccountable and a smokescreen for their real purpose which in itself propagates falsehoods that are put forward for example the assertion in the recent questionnaire that the company issued that Care team managers are now based on the units not in the office which is palpably false as far as the unit my dear mother is in are concerned.
Their assertion that they are a not for profit company which reinvest is not quite born out by their lack of purpose.
The “norm” which is acceptable to the company is not as far as I am concerned acceptable to me and I believe that there is an underlying arrogance in the make up of this company and “know your place” mentality.
Various directives are to put it bluntly a means of covering ones back so to give yet another false impression that the company is transparent.
It is of concern to me that in essence they have a misconceived sense of priorities and this has a considerable detrimental impact on the standard of care.
It is a symptom of the whole care sector in this country that the policies of care home owners are allowed to go unchallenged by the state and the regulator does not fulfil its mandate to the extent of questioning the company’s ethos. I do not have any faith whatsoever in the CQC and the reliability of any assessments they make.
It is abundantly clear that low levels of re numeration and status does lead to low moral amongst carers and this has to be addressed it cannot be brushed under the carpet any longer. It also could be said that carers are to a certain degree exploited and cannot because of their terms of employment have any redress.
Personal care is imperative if only to preserve the dignity and respect for the elderly. Unfortunately we have a poor understanding of what this actually means.
In the four years my dear mother has been in the home there has not been one tangible change in staff deployment let alone an increase in staff, they are still expected to carry out domestic and menial duties which I have no doubt are impacting on the standard of overall care.
An example of the lack of attention for individual residents who need personal care is as they tend to wander around because of their dementia sometimes entering other residents rooms and without anyone engaging them and paying any regard for their needs they are left to their own devices due to lack of staff.

Certain staff fall short when using their initiative is required and in some instances this may result in residents of one unit being affected by the activities of another resident. In a recent incident a resident was to all intents and purposes assaulted resulting in hospitalisation and the need for a hip replacement. The resident subsequently died causing great distress to the family .
This event should have been fully investigated and the local authority informed but I doubt whether either has taken place.
This was not the first occasion similar incidents have occurred and it begs the question whether a ” cover up ” had ensued.
It also has to be said that difficult situations occur when some agitated residents try to exit the building thus presenting staff with having to face stressful decisions.
In extreme cases the police are involved this would not happen if there were sufficient staff available.
The home still uses agency staff which I consider to be indefensible as it is uneconomic and the quality is not up to standard.
The present management at the home are in my opinion and other relatives I have spoken to not up to the job and lack organisational, communication skills and also do not have the necessary capabilities when innovation in activities is needed which are a vital ingredient towards residents stimulation and quality of life. It would be better if staff could bend the rules and use common sense in certain situations but in doing so they would be “sticking their neck out”.
All in all I have been disappointed in the way in which this company conducts itself and I have deep misgivings that it is not in the best interests of residents that it is allowed to continue and I sincerely believe that it merits investigation into its policies of construction and other practices which are questionable.
At the end of the day it costs a considerable amount of money to have our loved ones looked after and I for one am not comfortable with the current way this company is carrying out its duty of care. We really do expect our loved ones to have the best care possible given the sacrifices they have made during their lifetime and this is not the case as far as I am concerned.
I would be grateful of your comments on the contents of this letter.

Guest
David says:
4 June 2014

My understanding of the Care Home situation is that nursing homes are not set up to provide a good quality of life. This is the conclusion about dementia care homes that Gerry Robinson came to in his Open University/BBC documentary about Dementia care homes in 2009. Even if they were safe and provided reasonable standards of ‘personal care’ – washing, toileting, dressing, etc, the quality of life was usually abysmal. That unsatisfactory quality of life seems to be acceptable to the various bodies involved in allocating people to care homes or inspecting them. Quality of life, community, relationships, etc, need to be given the same importance as nursing, personal and medical care, and the involvement of friends and relatives taken more seriously. Perhaps each home should have the equivalent of a matron or assistant matron who is responsible for creating a home for residents, with a sense of community, relationships and quality of life. It may be that some pilot projects should be set up to try to provide examples of good quality of life where community and relationships are given the importance they deserve.

Guest
Gerald says:
4 June 2014

Dear David,
You are completely mixing up two types of Care Homes, the Dementia ones to which you refer are not Nursing Homes, Nursing Homes (which are the Private replacements of the NHS Geriatric wards) are staffed in the manner which you suggests and concentrate mainly with palliative care with all its own restrictions and problems.
Dementia Care Homes ,which are a recent development of the Private Sector Residential Homes specializing obviously with residents with dementia. In my opinion segregating people with dementia has its draw backs and its benefits and at present there has not been sufficient work put into developing Care in this area although I do believe this will be quickly be rectified now that this condition has been highlighted for special attention.

Guest
redhurstswallet says:
4 June 2014

There may well be care homes which provide dementia care, and I agree that Gerry Robinson’s programme focused on care homes rather than dealing with nursing homes, but from my experience the issues he raised were also appropriate to nursing homes some of which do deal with residents w3ith varying degrees of dementia.

Guest
Gerald says:
5 June 2014

The whole issue is far more complicated than either you or Gerry Robinson seem to realise and as long as people keep mixing up the needs of specific groups of people and just rubbishing everyone and everything we do without actually dealing with the real problem we will never improve the system .
I have been doing this job now for over thirty years and yes, there is still plenty to do ,but taking a blanket approach to everyone going into Care Homes will not sort out the problems , this was the old system we inherited from the Public Sector , you are obviously not aware of the mess we took on ,this included poorly trained and motivated staff. One only has to look at the problems still present in the NHS to see the attitudes of the NHS staff we had to work with, if you compare their present sytem say at Mid Staffs Hospital with that in the Private Sector you may possibly understand what we have acheived, why is it you and others seem to be able to turn a blind eye to the msassively funded Public Sector and yet expect miricles from the Private Sector which operates on spomething like one quarter of the budget, it just seems sometimes that there is one rule for the Private Sector and another for the Public Sector and there appears to be no real comparrison of value for money. It makes we wonder sometime if there is a political agenda involved rather than a desrie to obtain a good system of Care, I personally believe that going back to the Old Public Sector/NHS system would be a massive retrograde step, but there again I am biased and proud of what we have achieved in the Private Sector and I also believe that the majority of the Public Support us and are satisfied with our service (why would nearly 400000 (four hundred thousand) customers pay if they were not satisfied.
I have no problem of people critisising Care Homes as long as it is on a realistic and constructive.basis.

Guest

I agree with Gerald that bundling everything up under a Care Homes category is not helpful. There are different and specific needs and provision should aim to suit those needs as closely as possible. The system also needs to be dynamic and this is sometimes lacking [people’s conditions are not stable, and apart from any age-related changes, mental and physical capacities can alter over time and not necessarily progressively]. It seems to me that the public sector should focus on the more acute end of the spectrum where the medical requirements are paramount; whatever criticism there is of the NHS it is beyond dispute that it has the specialists, the resources and the capacity to provide good care and treatment. No doubt it could be more efficient and cost-effective but those are not necessarily the chief criteria by which its performance should be judged. No other institution seems to me to be capable of doing it comprehensively.

Leaving aside the medical/hospital cases, the question seems to be whether any provider organisation – private or public – can be left to sort out by itself the fulfilment of appropriate provision according to the needs of the population city by city and county by county so that people can have access to suitable residential care in a well-managed, protective and affordable setting. Getting the scale right must be one of the difficulties: to be able to cope with residents’ changing needs as their lives progress requires a range of resources that are usually associated with a large establishment, but this is not what the residents or their families want. Some sort of campus provision might be an attractive proposition but shades of the old isolation hospitals inevitably arise.Fundamentally, it comes down to the quality of care delivered by the human resources, the specialists, the care staff, the domestic staff, and the management, and this is heavily conditioned by training, supervision, and organisational culture. I would say that the organisational culture has been the big weakness and stumbling block, and whether it is driven by the profit motive in the private sector or the need for economies in the state sector the outcome has been the same. Until there is a perpetual condition of honesty and openness about the quality of care, and avenues for listening to complaints, addressing them meaningfuly and protecting those who raise them, things will not get better.

Guest
Gerald says:
5 June 2014

Many thanks John, you have put it far more ellequently than I could have managed and I can see that you and I are not to far appart in our thinking.

The main problem is that the Public Sector ,particularly Labour run counclis have continually tried to undermine the Private Sector, fortunately the Public themselves hav always supported the Private Sector with their patronage, I agree that the old school Management in the Private Sector did not help and many effortsto improve the service from myself were to say the least met with resistance from my staff as they were totally under control by the various Council and Health Authorities In spectors, to a degree I must admit it was easier to go along with this at the time, subsequently, over the years I started to listen to my clients (as any good buisiness man should and suprise, suprise realised our staff were found lacking in this skill. The problem was and still is that there many viewpoints from both the General Public and the so called professionals that it is impossible to draft out any blanket solutions. We have had many attempts over the years made by a varieity of people for a variety of reasons and the CQC have the unenviable task today.
I believe that there can never be any National Solution , there can only be a local solution between the Provider and the Customer and this is why , as you say, quality, well trained in house management is imperative, but as any other business this management must be trained by the business itself and not be over influenced or trained by their competitors.

Guest
GERALD says:
23 June 2014

Dear John
Whatever the motives of the Private Sector (for profit or not for profit) the over-riding factor must be are they serving the Public the best?? I would respectfully suggest that the Public has long ago decided that they areThey have over the years ,when given the choice, continually patronised and supported the Private Sector in spite of the smear campaigns of the Public Sector

We can not please all the people all of the time but hey I really do not think we are doing the bad job some of our competitors would have us believe.

Guest
Sue Woods says:
21 May 2015

My mother aged 93 has been in a care home for two and a half years , whilst she is physically fit , she is registered as sight impaired . Six month ago the home manager left to take up another like position some fifty mile away , from that time the standards of the home started to decline , in January my mother was taken into hospital and given 24 to 48 hours with pneumonia , thank fully she pulled through and returned to the home some two week later . A few days on she had trouble with her toilet chain ( the old fashioned type) she stood on a stool to try and flush the toilet , fell and cut the back of her head open . Medic was called and said she would be ok , later that evening a received a call telling me my mother had been violently sick , I made my way overvtomthe home arriving at about 23.30 , to find my mother sat in a chair crying and asking to be allowed to go to her room , the night care senior was on a call to 911 , I asked to speak to them in order that I could give them an indepth account of her health problems over the previous three weeks , I was told by the senior carer that she would not pass the phone over to enable me to speak to 911 , I returned my mother to her room and requested a duty manager to call me , the duty manager said she would arrange for a non emergency ambulance to attend , I waited another hours, the duty manager rang me back saying it could be another couple of hours before paramedic arrived and if I wanted to go home she had instructed a carer to sit with my mother and for the staff to ring me when the paramedics had assessed my mother , needless to say by 0900 the following morning I had heard nothing , I arrived at my mother care home about 0945 , and had to ask the manager where my mother was and why I had not been called . I duly complained to the manager and also the area manager. No action regarding my complaint was taken . We are now four months on and I have had to complain again with regard to the quality of food , the resident cook left and a staff member took over the cooking , the days ago another residents family complained about the food quality , and my mother said she had been offered dry toast after her cereal due to the fact the home had run outbofveggs , butter , and jamm, I was then told by a staff member that there had been a bout of food poisoning , I rang and lodged a complaint that was seven days ago , today at 16.50 I received a call from the home manager saying that they were giving my mother 28 days notice, any advice please would be appreciated thank you Sue Woods .

Guest

Good morning Sue, and thanks for sharing your experience with the Which? Conversation community. First of all, I’m sorry to hear about your mother and I certainly hope she’s getting better.

I’m delighted to let you know that we have lots of information and advice for what you can do in your situation, here:

http://www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/your-relatives-needs/dealing-with-unsatisfactory-care

Guest
Gillian Lashbrook says:
8 August 2016

Hi

I am in the same situation with my own mother. Portland House Shrewsbury

I am scared of reporting any incidents to the manager as we feel that my mother will be given her 28 days notice to quit.
Basically you have to shut up and accept poor quality and neglect of care.

I visited my mother one afternoon to be advised that she had been a little drowsy that day….it was 3pm..we couldn’t rouse my mum from her sleep….I spoke with the acting sister who said she had no particular symptoms so they had just left her in a semi coma.

I was made out to be the trouble maker for confronting the nurse….I asked about her food fluid intake….they told me everything was recorded that went into her room….I pointed out her notes didn’t reflect what left the room…..that it was obvious she hadn’t eaten or drunk that day. Her lunch and drink was still next to her.

I was then told that they had the records of foods removed from her room on another chart….just a complete lie. They were trying to tell me that the nurse whom hadn’t charted the removal of food fluids had gone directly to acting sister to chart this on another daily care record sheet.

My mother’s visitor called me yesterday….told me my mother was very ill….again semi concious…..had been so for a few days. I have not been informed…but to scared to contact nursing home to make yet another complaint as my mother will be given her marching orders.

Guest
Jude says:
2 June 2015

Reading these posts makes me so sad. My Dad is a lovely sweet man. He has alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home. I have found the same thing. My Dad is a bright man. Despite his condition he can still play scrabble and other games. He gets no stimulation at all. I’ve seen the so called “activities ” at the home. They last for a matter of seconds, just long enough for them to take a photograph to “prove” the activity has taken place. The staff do physical care but there is no interaction. When I asked if staff could help my dad choose tv programmes he wants to watch the manager did not refuse but I heard her muttering “who does she think she is, does she think we’ve got the time to do things like that”. I can vouch for the fact that if you complain you are ignored or bullied. The cqc doesn’t see the reality of these places, nor do many relatives. As I don’t live near I stay for hours when I visit so I see what really goes on. Not only are we dealing with a loved one who is suffering and deteriorating we face seeing them in a situation where we are cold shouldered or bullied for raising concerns. I’m sorry but I don’t see the existing procedures as helping at all. We are on our own. You don’t know what a home is like until you have someone in it. Moving your relative is taking a leap in the dark. And is it out of the frying pan?

Guest
Tracy says:
17 July 2015

After suspecting that my grandmother was been severely bullying when she was in a nursing home back in the 90’s my mother and I have just found evidence to confirm our worst fears. At the time my mother confronted them to be told that my grandmother had just fallen etc etc. Shortly afterwards she sadly died. Today my mum found an old purse of my frandmother’s and there were notes inside written by my grandmother saying that she was being ‘hurt’ by the staff. I feel sick with anger and I want to ensure that I can get some justice for my granmother, but I don’t know where to start. My mother has begged me not to go to the police as she doesnt want it all brought into the open but I totally disagree and need something to be done. Can you please give me any advice on what I can do, is it too long ago for the police or authorities to do anything? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Guest
Matt says:
4 August 2015

My nan is 94 and been put into a care home after a fall, while there she has got a bed sore and ended up in hospital. She had a mini stroke in there and was then moved back into the care home.
All she does is beg to be moved somewhere else and tells me there crawl to her. And that they say nasty things. It breaks my heart, she is sane of mind until they dope her up with morphine. So she never comes out the bed or out of the room. They come in 3 times a day, feed her worse than you would feed a baby. This is not care?
Help I don’t know what I can do, my uncle is power of eternity and says she’s exaggerating

Guest
Matt says:
4 August 2015

Just popped in to visit her and the careers have put all the residents in there rooms and there all sitting in the lounge

Guest

Hello Matt

Thank you for your post and I’m sorry to hear about your nan. It’s difficult enough coping with such changing circumstances without also worrying about how well someone is being looked after.

On the Which? Elderly Care website we have information that explains how to spot unsatisfactory care (which you’ve done already) and how to make a complaint. Step 1 is to speak to the care home manager to give her or him a chance to investigate, explain and put things right. Follow this link to the page on the site and there is lots more advice about what to do:

http://www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/your-relatives-needs/dealing-with-unsatisfactory-care/343077-making-a-social-care-complaint

I very much hope this will help you on your way.

Guest
Helen says:
27 August 2015

My 96-year-old father spent a week in a residential care home last week as respite care while I went on holiday. When I returned he was so unwell he was hospitalised within 24 hours (and is still in hospital); he had developed a mouth ulcer which caused him such discomfort that he had been unable to eat or drink adequately, the care home knew about it, and had taken no action; a dressing on his leg which a member of staff had marked on a chart when he was admitted had not been changed in 10 days and was filthy; his legs were so congested that fluid was seeping through the skin and this had been entirely neglected; and £30 was missing from his wallet. I complained in writing to the care home about the medical issues (I tried to write in a very dispassionate, clear, matter-of-fact way, which was difficult, because I was and am FURIOUS), and asked them to contact the police about the missing money. They didn’t, so I did. The police said, very sympathetically, that they would not be able to trace what happened to the money, but they did interview the manager and director of the home, and the crime reference number is now logged and so any future allegations will be very significant. After 3 days of no further communication from the home I sent a copy of my email of concerns to CSSIW (the care home is in South Wales). I also particularly drew their attention to the state of the lift which was used by frail and often confused residents – it was possible to open the doors of the lift before it had reached the floor it was travelling to. Within half an hour my email was acknowledged and CSSIW said they were going to make an unannounced visit to the home. I had such a feeling of relief and am so impressed with their prompt reaction. It is very encouraging that there are bodies that we can go to when we feel we have received inadequate care. I think the very least the owner of the home could do would be to say he was sorry to hear my father is in hospital – but it is very telling that he hasn’t, and speaks volumes about the ethos of the place. I am not aware of anywhere people can go to read reviews of a care home. I can read thousands of reviews of books before I buy one – but nothing about a potential home for a much-loved family member. If I had had access to a complaint similar to the one I have just written about that care home I wouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole…

Guest
Margaret Laverty says:
30 August 2015

My mum is 96yrs. And was moved into madelayne care home in Portstewart..she sits all day with no stimulation. Her chair and clothes stink of urine and when we ask for an explanmation. The answer we get is that they are nose blind. She had a plaster on her leg and when i asked what happened . A staff nurse said “I KNEW YOU WOULD BE IN ASKING,WELL SHE WAS’NT HIT HER KICKED” SOILED BEBLINEN DENIED until i showed them the photos. The clothes which were lying for the laundry they put on her the following day. This is only avery few examples but all complaints are falling on deaf ears. This home has had 4 mamagers in 4 years and the situation is getting worse.

Guest
Fred says:
14 January 2016

A Cheif is stealing food etc to feed him and his mother, friends from a Barchester care home in Rochester/Kent,
What you do?

Guest

Report

Guest
deborah cotterill says:
3 April 2016

Its a pity that this post is actually not topic of 2016.
Care homes are definately failing .
My dad has recently died and although most of his care was well managed , the nursing home lacked when it came to its end of life policy.
to make this short as probably no one will read it , they left my dad to die in pain with basically no end of life care. If it had not been the fact that i demanded he be taken to hospital to recieve this care he would have died in agony.

Guest
Carol says:
8 June 2016

The core issue is non compliance and no enforcement of peoples rights already in place – authorities that refuse to address matters at the time -poor care neglect is time critical and can be life threatening pushing relatives into the complaints process does not address non compliance issues and just keep relatives in the long grass no doubt to say well we cannot change anything now – thereby making the complaints process pretty pointless and ineffectual to resolve matters that are time and care critical
Complaints process does not fix the problem at the time reporting and requires immediate action to prevent harm or further harm
Until compliance and swift enforcement is undertaken it seems our loved ones are at constant risk

Guest

Totally agree Carol. Problem is. It all looks good on paper for CQC . However the shortfalls are the operational facts and people suffering

Guest

I have worked in care homes for 14 years now, my current employment for 5 years. I am a senior carer and undertaking my level 5 management. unfortunately there are good, bad and satisfactory care homes and I have worked in all three. I now work in a very good residential home, of which most of the staff have been employed there for a number of years, some 20+. when considering a care home for your loved ones, in my experience it is essential to look at the latest CQC reports. These are very informative, and give information on the turnover of staff. This is important, how many staff have left recently, this information is available. When any company has a large turnover of staff, it is usually obvious why. Either the staff are unhappy which the way the home is run or the staff are not properly vetted and references not checked. Ask management about this. Care staff are often not appreciated by both management and families of their loved ones, although sometimes with good reason. The majority of care staff do care very much about their residents. High turnaround of staff however, in my opinion, results in poor quality of care. I know a lot about all the residents in my practice, as I have been there for a long time. They are friends. I, and my colleagues, interact with them constantly. We know their likes and dislikes, we are familiar to them. We talk about our lives and they talk about theirs. This gives us an understanding of how to interact with them. This continuity, I believe, is imperative to their happiness and comfort. it also allows us to get to know their families and friends, which enables both families and care staff to engage and discuss their care and any changes that have or may arise. Carers also need to be made to feel they are doing a good job. The good ones are underpaid and overworked. A good care home will know this and ensure that their carers are not only well trained but cared about and listened to. After all, apart from residents families, we know our residents best, not management. (Although we don’t get paid any more). I have prattled on long enough now, but I urge families to speak to members of care staff and listen to them before seriously committing to a care home for their loved ones.

Guest
patricia says:
26 September 2016

I have worked in care for 30 years. Last 15 as a Manager. I have left Management due to constraints on standard delivery. This being due to it being about treating people as a commodity (all about profit).
I decided to deliver training, as that way I can still make the difference needed. I took an in house trainers position. To let you understand I have never been suspended in my life. This company suspended me for a disclosure. I was discriminated against, bullied, then suspended. I wrote a grievance. This was heard. Outcome, all positive and upheld on my part. The suspension was lifted. I asked why I was suspended the answer “we don’t know” I returned to the position, someone else is in my job. How can this happen. Fact if you have poor management. You have a poor culture, You have bad practice. Bottom line You have poor delivery of care for residents.

So many managers talk the talk to CQC when in fact they have no clue on care practices. Only on talking the talk with profits

Guest
Jacqui says:
30 January 2017

I’m not sure what to do, my mum was in a home and everything seemed good, she needed one to one from 8 am to 8 pm because she could become violent, during this time the carer gave her a sandwich (the hospital said she should have fork-mashable food), well, she choked, the carer first noticed when my mum made a gurgling sound and was a funny colour? then she couldn’t assist because she was pregnant (so if my mum had fallen or needed lifting for any reason she couldn’t have helped, if she became violent and needed restraining, she couldn’t help? anyway, she called for the other carer (who was in the toilet) but she couldn’t remove the blockage. The ambulance was called, and the end result was my mother died.. I have asked the care home manager for all written reports for that day and evening and also a copy of complaints procedure, but will it just go to the home?.

Guest

Hi Jacqui,

So sorry to hear this has happened to your mum.

Your mum should have had carers able to cope with her condition. The pregnant carer should never have been put in that situation, but should at least have been able to follow a simple rule of what your mum could eat.

I don’t have any advice, but do hope you find answers and closure.

Guest

I’m sorry to hear this, Jacqui. Thank you for telling us of this tragic story about your mother. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things by asking for written reports and the care home’s complaints procedure. On our Which? Elderly Care website we have information about how to escalate a complaint if you think you aren’t getting sufficient redress from the care home itself. Go to Making a complaint about a care provider, which takes you through the steps you can take. I hope this helps, please do keep up updated either here or via conversation.comments@which.co.uk and let us know if we can help at all.

Guest
Isobelodonnell says:
7 March 2017

My brother is in a home after being told the staff at Manor House whickham could no longer meet his needs he was forced out into a emi supposedly and they would meet hos needs I am so distraught as he is worse off in my opinion and my sisters to he is not eating he is just sleeping lost loads of weight his wife dumped him last year the family do not visit him he has had no pocket money months so we have to provide for him as the incontinent pads are no good as he can pull them off so we buy the better ones he worked all his life chief chef in the navy and this is the way society treats him this government wants get their fingers out instea of sending money abroad

Guest

This is shocking Isobel , I am angry on your behalf I read posts week to week on how money is short and cuts in the NHS I would like all those government policy apologists reply to YOU Isobel NOT to me . £1 Billion is being spent by our government on a “shady ” overseas political persuasion organisation to covertly overthrow countries by bad publicity of them and other “hidden ” organisations while the NHS is being totally privatised -slowly – this is the result -speak to Isobel not me ! Give her an answer to her problems -Please !

Guest
jan says:
12 March 2017

My son was in a carehome at the age of 40. He had a cancerous brain tumour. He had a DoLs put on him but l was not explained fully what that meant, but went along with it thinking they knew best. Once DoLs was in place he was then looked after best part of day by 1 to 1 carers from outside agency who had no medical knowledge. He became ill and l kept complaining about what this women was doing, mainly taking him out for cigarettes when he didn’t have a proper coat on and it was cold outside. He did have doctors come and see him and was treated for 2 infections one on top of the other and given antibiotics but because he couldnt talk no one spoke up for him.He eventually was taken to hospital with serious pneumonia and died. Since then the carehome won’t speak to me and tell me what happened the night he was taken ill. I don’t know where these care homes feelings are but they must understand they are dealing with human beings whether patient or family. I must add my son had a CHC nurse that was totally useless and l was told the home had a 2 tier system those who pay and those who don’t.

Guest

OMG ! What with Isobel and now you Jan ( my wife has the extended French version of your name ) I am dumb struck ! -brain tumour =cancer- you said -she takes him out for cigarettes ?? — CANCER sticks ! ,then serious Pneumonia ? -yes sure that would “help” it —-get WORSE . Sue-Sue-Sue- lack of care , what I really think I cannot print due to legal reasons but my blood pressure has now gone up . I am afraid I would be jailed if it was my wife in those circumstances as I would certainly return the “care ” in a like manner to that Death home . I am lost for words ! Again I say look at what this country has become and PLEASE ! reply to JAN NOT me -tell her its “all right ” -tell her -those things “happen ” I will never accept this from anybody because I have feelings and I care for people , don’t try to intellectualise it , or make excuses just talk to Jan not me . One of my uncles died of a brain tumour and he got good attention because the NHS wasn’t privatised at the time. This is all down to money , not human life and dignity ,isn’t it ?—I have just checked up there are legal firms in the UK who will sue on your behalf , although they do take a percentage of the award ,it might make you feel at least something was done instead of feeling helpless.