What’s Happened To Care?

Two days on and I am still really disturbed by this week’s Panorama programme on BBC 1 on care homes. The programme secretly filmed the tragic abuse taking place at Winterbourne View in Bristol. It was graphically shocking, distressing and unbelievable.

The programme follows the release of a damning report by the Care Quality Commission on the state of care provided in some hospitals for the elderly, where doctors were said to be prescribing drinking water to patients.

What has happened to the “care” profession in the UK? How has bullying, abuse and neglect become common place? How in 2011, can a place like Winterbourne View exist?

The answers for many of my questions lie with the failure of the management and regulating bodies, that are meant to supervise and govern these institutions. As with Winterbourne, a senior nurse complained about the terrible aggressive treatment, described as torture, that patients were facing. He took it to the Trust that owns the unit and got no response. He then took his complaints to the regulating body, Care Quality Commission, who disgustingly, failed to act.

It is now a year after this nurse’s initial complaint and following a BBC programme, have the regulators, police and even the owners started to pay attention and take action.

What was evident was that those in care do not have a voice and often even if they do speak up cannot be heard. They need to be protected. We may say what happened to the families? Why don’t they know? As highlighted by this programme, the families are told everything is ok? Those in care are unable to communicate what is going on. They live in fear and torture. One mother explained how her daughter did try and tell but she did not believe her because she couldn’t believe that something like this was happening and her daughter had a vivid imagination.

It begs to reason that no matter what history a person has, when it comes down to their care, it is always important to make checks, spot checks, listen to complaints and be really involved in the care home. If this mother had listened to her daughter she would have saved her daughter and 20 other patients from months of daily physical and mental abuse.

This programme has led to 4 members of the staff  being arrested with others pending further investigation and the government has requested a public inquiry into care.


7 Comments to “What’s Happened To Care?”

  1. .. which is why Asians don’t put their loved ones in care homes

  2. I have only read news reports of this story and it does sound chilling. We will all grow old and vulnerable one day I hope this is not an experience I have to face. I only know of one Asian family in my entire extended social network who put an old family member into care and I remember it was scandalous.

    Some of these care homes cost £3,000 per week per patient. Much of this is paid with public money, maybe the government could check patients in to The Ritz instead? At least with that price tag we can know people would really be cared for.

    • Hi all,
      In March, there was a really interesting documentary on Channel 4 about Asians in Care. Apparently some Asian groups are more receptive to putting their beloved in care for a number or reasons.
      Unlike you Bubbly I know about about 10 people that are in care. The programme showed Gujarati families using care home the most and Pakistani’s the least.
      There has been a boom in the number of Asian care homes and they are much in demand.
      I agree, the Ritz would provide better service. I know where I would rather be.

      • I too have seen this documentary about Asians in care. To be honest, as we (the British Asians) start to integrate more, accept more of the British Culture and influence our current and future generation to do the same – putting an elder into care at old age will simply become normal and more common.

        This was unheard of decades ago, but now we hear about someone going into care. I personally don’t know of anyone (Asian) who is care but its just a matter of time before I do.

  3. I was horrified when my mum said she wouldn’t mind going into a retirement home when she gets older. She said why not, it sounds like fun. She will be with other people her own age and with similar interests etc, I think she thinks it will be like a constant holiday. I don’t know though, I feel very uncomfortable at the thought of that and have informed her that in her reitrement she will have to move in with me and be on 24/7 samosa making duties.

  4. Ha ha which is probably why she’s like get me to the retirement home!

  5. My gran wants to go to a retirement home but we won’t let her. Vakeel Bibi, I too was shocked and thought she would want to be with us and hate it. However, her point is that we are all at work and have our own lives. She wants company all day and she would get it. We send her to a day centre which she loves and is actively involved in.
    In all fairness Vakeel Bibi, if your mum is on a daily samosa duty with you, a home would be a holiday!!

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