• Low-price internet-only offers should guarantee alternatives which do not penalise vulnerable consumers

  • There can be no justification for companies having a profit centre for ripping off older people.

Changing the System

Eight problems and more solutions .

  • Create a one-stop-shop for benefits, entitlements and advice would, overnight, remove many issues.

  • A minister for older people could coordinate support across government, ensuring joined-up thinking.

           

1. Older people and their families do not know where to turn when faced with a time of crisis.  It is really really hard to organise care, access funding or find out about entitlements. Families are effectively abandoned to negotiate a highly-complex system alone. To cut through this problem:

 

 

 

 

2. Older people are marginalised, making them more vulnerable and open to abuse.  Older people are often out of sight - in care homes, retirement housing and special centres for seniors.  To prevent problems: 

  • Options for older people to remain in the heart of communities should be explored..  

  • Integrated housing, shared living and multi-generational projects, could allow people of all ages to benefit from shared space, 

 

3. Older people are discriminated against by online-only offers. Cheap power deals discriminate against vulnerable people, who can least afford it. 

4. There is no register for care staff and no compulsory qualifications.

Anyone can become a carer. Meanwhile, staff are employed on zero hours contracts for minimum wages, undermining any possibility of building a dedicated, professional workforce. 

5. There is no staff-resident ratio for those caring for older people.

While nurseries and schools must have specified numbers of qualified individuals with children (1:3 for babies), there is no ratio for care of older people. 

6. The Care Quality Commission is overwhelmed and desperate to keep care homes open.

Care home groups know that the CQC will do anything to avoid closing a home – and possibly sparking another ‘Southern Cross-style’ crisis. Care homes fail  inspections repeatedly, yet are allowed to carry on. We need to:

  • Separate care standards from regulation, so the regulator does not have a vested interest in keeping poor care homes open.

  • Regulation should stop problems before they start - through carer registration and tougher monitoring of care providers.  

7. All regulatory focus in the UK is on lessons learned for the care providers rather than the care received. 

By concentrating on 'lessons learned' rather than cases of abuse, the system makes it easier for care providers to escape censure and continue providing poor care. It also forces families to take legal action to seek justice. Holding homes to account for bad practice will, ultimately, save costs.  

8.  Proving cases of elder abuse through the courts is extremely difficult

The Police find it hard to act without clear proof. Much poor care is as a direct consequence of insufficient and poorly trained staff. 

  • The Police need improved prosecution powers to tackle cases of abuse, neglect and bad practice - especially where care providers have consistently failed to provide adequate care, leading to neglect.

 

 

These issues are at the heart of the crisis today.

Older people are suffering and dying because of such problems

 

On an entirely cynical basis, this system is unaffordable.

  • Options for older people to remain in the heart of communities should be explored..  

  • Integrated housing, shared living and multi-generational projects, could allow people of all ages to benefit from shared space, 

  • Create a register of carers - and care providers.

  • Hold care providers and managers personally responsible for ensuring sufficient trained staffing.

  • Introduce legal ratios for care staff and nurses working in care.

  • Separate care standards from regulation, so the regulator does not have a vested interest in keeping poor care homes open.

  • Regulation should stop problems before they start - through carer registration and tougher monitoring of care providers.

  • Restore focus on the individual.

  • Investigated individual cases,

  • Introduce fines, sanctions and penalties where neglect and poor care fall below acceptable standards.

  • The Police need improved prosecution powers to tackle cases of abuse, neglect and bad practice - especially where care providers have consistently failed to provide adequate care, leading to neglect.

© 2017 by OlderLivingMatters   All text and original photos subject to copyright                    sarah.whitebloom.news@gmail.com

OlderLivingMatters is a journalistic website offering information, guidance and advice based on experience of life today for older people. It is designed to be a friendly hand in difficulties and to highlight the problems of older people and their families. As with any friend, it is not perfect and will not have all the answers all of the time. Everyone’s situation is different and this needs to be taken this into account if you take action. Please be aware that you use the information and advice on this website at your own risk and it is not responsible or liable if things go wrong.