/ Health

Forced to settle for an inadequate or poor care home? Too many are…

elderly woman

Our latest research reveals that some areas have more than half of care home beds in homes rated as ‘poor’ or ‘inadequate’. As Ann’s story shows, action is needed to confront the creaking care system now…

Ann, a supporter of our Care Needs Care Now campaign, told us about her challenging experience with her mother’s care home.

Ann’s mother was in a care home in Wiltshire for six years before she died. She was bedridden and had dementia. She needed help with eating and drinking and couldn’t ring the bell to call staff because of her condition.

Care homes don’t always care

What Ann’s mother really needed was a care home that cared. But Ann had numerous problems and concerns about her mother’s care – here she tells us about just a few of them:

‘When we had to choose a home for Mum, we visited three homes. One was like a dark warren and the room wasn’t very nice. We wouldn’t have wanted her to go there, or to the other one. Both stank to high heaven of urine. The one we chose was brighter with less of a smell, but being at the end of a corridor, she was reliant on staff who never came.

‘I worked as an auxiliary care assistant in the local hospital at the time. Luckily, my employer let me take long lunch breaks to visit Mum every lunchtime to check she was given her lunch. My sisters and I felt the need to visit daily because on two separate occasions, the staff simply forgot to give her any lunch.

‘Mum needed help with eating and drinking. She couldn’t ring the call bell because of her condition; she was reliant on the staff to ensure her needs were met without her having to ask. Her room was at the end of the corridor, so there never seemed to be any passing staff.

‘One November, when it gets dark at around 4pm, Mum was left without a working light in her room over a whole weekend, because the bulb had gone and the maintenance person was off! Staff didn’t even bring in a bedside light for her – they used the light from the en suite with the door open to change and clean her.

‘Soon after Mum moved in we noticed on several occasions an odd tablet on bedside table or the floor. Staff didn’t seem too concerned when asked about it, but they didn’t recognise the tablet either. Eventually one of the care assistants discovered that Mum had sucked the coating off the tablet and then spat it out.

‘Over the years, my family was concerned about the state of her room. There were some worrying cracks in the walls, yet nothing was done until we pointed out to one of the senior nurses that we could feel a draught through the crack. The nurse then checked to feel the draught herself – only then was the problem tackled.

‘My family felt trapped and tied to this nursing home because it was allegedly one of the best in town. We didn’t want to move Mum far away because then we wouldn’t have been able to visit so often or keep an eye on things.

‘Since Mum died, it makes me fear for my own future should I ever need a nursing home.’

Care Needs Care Now

Ann’s experience with her mother’s care will be a familiar story to many care arrangers across the country. Our latest research has found that nearly a third of local authority areas in England have one in three beds or more in poor care homes – find out what the situation looks like in your area here.

Thankfully, there are some areas where at least nine in ten care home beds are in homes rated as good or outstanding. Yet, as the demand for beds is set to outstrip the provision for care home spaces, it’s clear that more needs to be done to confront the creaking care system now.

We want the Competition and Market Authority’s care home market study to make strong recommendations to the Government to address both the current crisis and future stability of the provision of care in its upcoming Green Paper.

What’s your experience of care homes?

Does Ann’s story ring true with you? Have you found a relative’s care to be much lower in quality than you would expect – or have you been pleased with care homes you’ve encountered?

Tell us your experience below to help us build up an accurate picture of care home quality – and don’t forget to sign our campaign calling on the CMA to confront the creaking care system.


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You are absoluty correct. Subsequent government have pandered to the young, giving them such a feeling of eentitlement, that they only see the elderly as a drain on their resources. Since the “get on your bike” days families have been split and lost touch with each other. Until the young start to care about their elderly relatives nothing will change, especially while the media keep saying pensioners are rich.

Ann, my heart goes out to you.

There are several issues here, all rather obvious.

One of them is civilisation and how we measure it. How we treat old people is one of the measures. Oh, boy.

Then, there is mental health, care home inmates’, their relatives’, and ours who haven’t got loadsamoney to make sure we can go to a private plush care home later on in life. Ann says she fears for her own future. I’m thinking, no, I’ll kill myself rather than face a rubbish care home. Seriously.

Taxes. The megarich, including HMTQ, strive to reduce the amount of tax they pay, all the time, and they manage it. They employ people for that purpose. No conscience, no civic sense. We need to pay tax to look after ourselves and those who need it.

Fourth issue I can think of, with our aging population this is going to get worse and worse and worse before it gets better.

I don’t know what the solutions are, and I’m certain the current government isn’t interested, but campaigning, raising awareness, yes, Which, please do.

These sort of experience seem not only confined to care homes. Some prisons, detention centres, children’s homes, armed forces, have all been cited as examples of abusive treatment. This treatment is meted out by our fellow human beings. I do not believe that “pay” can be used as any excuse for maltreatment. Many people treat others well for no remuneration. But answers – I’ve none other than punishing those directly involved. Instead of which, we seem to cover it up, move people on, pay them off.

It’s ‘Institutionalisation’, Malcolm; when a set of people working within a closed society come to regard abuse of their fellow humans as the norm then there’s no limit to what can occur. WWII was a good example, Facebook’s a good present-day example but – as you say – just about every closed society in the UK has witnessed similar behaviour. The only answer at present is extremely strong leadership which resolutely refuses to tolerate any form of abuse.

In a sense W? Conversations is a closed society, within which abuse simply isn’t tolerated. The same can be done with other institutions, too. Why it isn’t is one of the great mysteries of modern life. It has been argued if the staff were to be paid more, it wouldn’t happen, but I remain unconvinced about that. Better pay and more staff would help, certainly, but it’s not the whole answer.

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Totally agree,totally! A bad system with let’s be polite and call them “bad people” doing the investigations at times. This means the truth rarely is public knowledge. Disgraceful state of affairs.

It is the norm in apartheid occupied Palestine today and has been for 70 years, but no country dare do anything to oppose it, despite it being completely against international law, as they are scared at being called anti-semites or to have worse action taken against them as individuals. In the UK, people have been treated horrendously by government and their employees.

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Richie says:
29 November 2017

My grandmother is in a care home in Liverpool which is ‘requiring improvement’. I do a bit of voluntary work there myself. It’s a good care home. The staff are fantastic. They really do care about the residents. I’m more than content that she’s getting the care she needs and she never complains either. In fact, the only complaints residents tend to make is about being away from their homes. It’s a difficult transition for many. It’s why I think large care homes are not much good.

But I don’t think it’s fair to place all of the blame onto care homes. Funding has been slashed and most homes are owned by private companies. When profit is a factor you have to question whether the system is set up to serve its users.

Oh dear, Scotland appears to have disappeared again …..

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Anonymous says:
29 November 2017

I have worked in several care homes as an agency carer, whilst finding my real purpose. I had been a staff nurse up to the 90s so had a lot of knowledge and understanding of how things should be done. Everywhere needed more staff to truly give the quality of care required for elderly residents who often need longer time, and assistance than could be given. The owners of these homes won’t pay out for extra staff each shift be every one is run ragged. Baths and showers are not given often enough. Activities are poor. Toiletting is not frequent enough so residents who are incontinent sit or lie in wet pads, clothes, bedding and not given time to sit on the toilet, or commode or washed and creamed properly. There are some excellent carers who soon become disillusioned and leave
. It is very worrying.

I totally agree that more staff are required. These Care Homes work with the very minimum staff. I am a retired Staff Nurse and have worked in Care Homes for many many years.

It’s not only social care where this country fails us,it’s ignoring poverty, Mental Health poor housing and exploitative landlords, Child abuse, animal cruelty ,almost anything that affects the poorer less fortunates of this once great nation.Great Britain! don’t make me laugh.

It is paramount that the Care Homes workers are adequately and competently trained and supported so that they can offer a better quality of care to the elderly and the needy.

I’ve had significant of care homes through work and the experiences of relatives. In the latest instance, a care home was claiming top CQC rating when, on consulting the inspection report, it was “requiring improvement”. Staffing levels were shamefully low and accommodation inadequate, but the staff were very caring. This illustrates one of the issues – that homes are often struggling, though well meant. I did complain to the CQC about th misrepresentation issue. Never be afraid to scrutinize or to point out failings where necessary – but also remember that most homes are under increasing pressure.

We took my late Mother of 96 out of Private Care and from that day forth she was a different person, happy, talkative, joined in with family get togethers, she was the person we had always known before going into care, she loved her last 6 months living with us as one of the family even though she had Dementia AND NOT ONE SINGLE BRUISE on her body at all in those 6 months, where as before she always had bruises and the home made every possible excuse under the sun as to how she had got the bruises. The Police are now carrying out a Criminal Investigation and I sincerely hope this comes to fruition, it will no longer do my late Mother any good, but it could well help all the other people in the same circumstances.

Care in the community where carers come to your house needs looking at too, my friend had carers towards the end of his life and his experience was good, they came in spent the least time they could with him, his meals were cold where they hadn’t bothered to test them to see if they were warmed through this among many other complaints

john wigglesworth says:
29 November 2017

There is and should be great concern over care at all levels. For the owners, it is the opportunity to make much profit which is fine, that is what business is all about. At the point of voting in the last election, our PM announced that the Government would in the future return £100k back into the estate of the patient’s estate.
If you do not own property, you have no concern. Is this fair practice that if you have no property you do not pay? Workers in the industry are poorly paid and the rates and expenses vary even in the same workplace!
Privatisation is not the cure, Nationalisation is. Payments to be charged at all levels through the system we have in the NHS. It is this institution that should govern it too because that is already part of their skills.

Some of the stories on here (and that I have heard) are shocking to say the least! One small part of the issue is that many carers are paid peanuts. I’ve been a carer for an agency (although not in a care home) and the pay was little more than minimum wage. It is classed as unskilled manual labour whereas actually some of what you need to do is very highly skilled

Read the UN agenda 21 motion and Agenda 30. The care home disgrace is all part of the creation of creating fear in the world’s populations to satisfy the globalist agenda. The care home problem is just part of the agenda of reducing the quality of all aspects of community care. Just ask yourself if you are over 65, or if under research history. In the 1940s, Dad went out to work to provide for his wife and family, and many could afford, no doubt with difficulty, to buy a house. Contrast with today. Both man and wife working and paying for child care. Result. They cannot buy a house. They live in rented accommodation with the rules and regulation that the landlord dictates. My point. Do not just focus on obvious faults in our society. You are being distracted. The overall fault is hidden but planned by evil people who want to control you and make slaves of you. Open your eyes. Switch off “strictly” and research how they are enslaving you.

I work in a residential care home which has changed to a supported living unit we were told that it would not be any different to what we were doing and that the residents would not suffer but what a lie the tenants as what they are now known as hardly get looked at we have so much to do with paper work and as well we now do all the cooking cleaning and laundry our tenants are all learning disability their rent has gone up by nearly £200 per week while our pay has risen by 26p per hour I really feel for the now tenants that they are not getting the care or attention that they deserve

What ‘Which’ should be doing is finding out why the Care Quality Comission is so inadequate and do not carry out audits properly on CARE HOMES AND CARE COMPANIES. They should be improving standards, not allowing them to sink to their mediocre level.
No qualifications, that doesn’t matter, they’re trying.
Carers don’t speak English, that’s ok. If we give them an overdose of medication, it doesn’t matter, they are old. We’ll just learn as we go along.
There’s an infection and it is getting worse, i’ll ignore it and nobody will know.
We can’t cope, just leave the patients in bed for another 5 hours and say the traffic was bad.
Complaints are made about a company, an inspection is undertaken and the complainer is a know all nuisance and the care company is registered as good.

I believe the main point of a care home it must I believe in “love and compassion” for all residents.
You can have luxury surroundings but if you do not have those two essential factors I would not want to stay there.
I am 80 next year

Roseanna Wright says:
29 November 2017

My mum is in a care home in Edinburgh. She is 92 mentally alert but physically frail. My sisters and I visited many care homes and I researched the regulations and ratings.
Mum is in a very nice care home in terms of her room and the building. We visit her every day.
The problem is staffing levels and any sort of stimulation or entertainment. Mum sits alone in her room bored out of her skull and rarely sees a staff member unless being called to the dining room for meals. The entertainment includes watching tele (mum has her own tele in her room), watching a video. Very little in the way of interactive activity. Many of the residence are confused and unable to hold a conversation which mum finds difficult.
There are always new faces amongst staff (agency staff) who don’t know mum and she resents being treated as if she is unable to speak for herself.
There are many aspects of the care that is given that seem to me to contradict several aspects of the regulations such as ensuring people feel at home, with privacy, respect and above all as an individual. It is very difficult to see a women who was independent, strong and very self sufficient being treated as a number or some bodied job.

I gave help to an elderly man in my local Supermarket…his mobility Scooter had broke down. I drove him back to a Care Home in Birkdale, Sefton, Merseyside. The man had made a comment that he would get a telling off for yet again his Mobility Scooter had broke down. My instincts told me to take him into the Nursing Home. On entering I found the staff apart from one to be unfriendly whereby a male staff member did not offer to get the Mobile Scooter out of my…I had to ask him. In the meantime the Gentleman I helped was ushered into a lift and taken to his room. I asked if I could say Goodbye and on doing so decided to walk up the stairs to his his room whereby I could check out the rooms as I passed on those whose door was opened. I found on passing the rooms that they all looked very nice with nice bedding. Until I got to the Gentleman’s room..his bedding was old and worn and duvet was dirty. The Gentleman himself was in dirty clothes..he told me he had no other change of clothes other than what he was standing up in… at the time it was September and the weather was changing…he had no coat and there was no wardrobe in his room. His tiny bedroom had a fire escape door with a dirty wet towel stuffed under the door to keep the rain and cold out… he told me he had no money to replace the mobility scooter or get it fixed… He had no family and no body that visited him. I went back two days later…at his request taking with me a winter coat that I had bought him. I was told by one of the unfriendly staff members that he did not want to see me again?? Yet he was appreciative when I asked him if he wanted me to visit again?? I respected his wishes…if they were his wishes?? But I got in touch with the Care Quality Commission explaining my concerns for the Gentleman and the Care Home he was in….and my findings and left it in their hands.

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Running a “care home” in the U.K these days means simply you are running a private business. When you run a business, you have to cover outgoings and more importantly make a hefty profit for yourself! If you don’t, then what is the point of risking your investment? There is nothing wrong with running a business for profit, the problem arises when you are running a business that cares for sick, old, fragile people on a shoestring. You cut corners every which way you can to make yourself rich. The only way to do this in the residential care system is to employ staff on minimum wage. That’s basically the only corner you can cut! Consequently, you get every kind of human being you can imagine on your payroll. Some caring, kind and willing to go that extra mile. Sadly the majority are there only because it’s all they can do to earn a living and too many don’t even like what they do! Over five years, I watched very carefully in two care homes how my mother, suffering from Alzheimer’s, had treatment that covered the whole spectrum. Unfortunately, most of it on the downside. Care homes for the elderly, should be government funded and run. End of story!

carey saunders says:
29 November 2017

That’s why we shut our two homes in 1998. The signs were there. The funding for care isn’t there.