All posts from: March 2012
I can almost hear the collective wince from people reading the latest report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which says the treatment of some elderly people in care is akin to torture.
It’s a huge statement. The commission says that some care providers’ services are so terrible that they are breaching the Human Rights Act. That’s not just a lax night shift here and a forgotten meal there, that’s systematic, widespread abuse.
The Care Quality Commission – the body charged with inspecting and regulating care homes – was also accused of failing to identify and prevent abuses of the basic human rights of elderly people.
I can’t help feeling a tiny bit sorry for the CQC. I’m sure that most of its staff do a sterling job of what must be a really hard task. Its chief executive stood down last month following report after report criticising the organisation’s work, and it’s taken a real bashing over a couple of high profile cases.
But why is the treatment of elderly people sometimes ‘undignified and humiliating’, according to the EHRC, despite the constant media outrage? Why isn’t anyone stopping it?
A recent survey from care provider Anchor found 39 per cent of older people have been made to feel like second class citizens, and 29 per cent felt vulnerable after being treated negatively as a result of their age.
Almost two thirds said that they would like a minister for older people to represent their views. It might be a step in the right direction if there’s someone in the higher echelons of government who has the needs of older people at the top of their agenda.
There’s just weeks to go until ministers publish a white paper on the future of care, and the media and public at large are sure to be watching like hawks as the plans are unveiled. There’s nothing like the mistreatment of our elderly people to stir emotions, and this will be no exception.