August 24, 2018

Are Care Homes Failing The Elderly?

Note: This post has been contributed.
Care homes will be an inevitability for most people. It’s true to say that once you reach a certain age, you may not be able to live independently anymore. Care homes are typically the solution, particularly if you can not afford live in care. However, there is alarming evidence that suggests care homes may not provide the level of support that elderly residents need. New reports have emerged that suggest care homes are falling short where it counts.
Respite Or Nursing Care?
When you admit an elderly loved one into a care home, there are often two types of care available: respite and nursing care. While one provides complete support, the other operates more as a basic level of care for residents. Many elderly patients are physically able. This means that they do not need constant support and attention. Instead, they can move freely through the care home which is useful, particularly in more deluxe locations where there are facilities like cinema rooms.
Nursing provides a more intense level of care with constant support, treatment, and aid every hour of the day.
The issue? It’s in the care home’s best interest to mark most residents as eligible for respite care. This means lower costs and a lower level of employees are needed. It could be a way to keep a budget in check, even if it does leave someone vulnerable. That’s exactly what can happen with residents suffering injuries when they should have been monitored.
Low Levels Of Staff
Reports have also revealed that staff numbers in even the best care homes are often limited. This again impacts the overall quality of service and means that patients can be neglected in a variety of ways. You might find that your elderly parent is suffering from bedsores which a care home will tell you is perfectly normal. However, this can be avoided if an elderly patient is moved regularly and readjusted. Many employees won’t bother or won’t have the time to do this, particularly if the care home is understaffed.
Of course, you also might find that staff will refuse to go the extra mile for residents. Particularly, if they are booked in for respite care. Even medical health issues may go unchecked until a relative notices.
Issues With Communication
There are plenty of residents in care homes who are unable to communicate due to medical conditions such as a stroke or dementia. If a patient is unable to communicate, then this can leave them vulnerable and at risk of neglect and abuse. Since a patient can not communicate effectively, these issues also go unnoticed and unreported. It’s a dangerous situation and neglect or abuse in care homes is a serious problem. These days, it’s common for care homes to have CCTV throughout the premises to ensure that any issues like this can be caught.
It seems then there are a wide range of issues currently plaguing the care industry. However, with live in care often being too expensive and a growing elderly population there isn’t a solution on the horizon.