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  1. #1

    Report on care homes

    I think this article is worth a read. Many of the observations in the article I have witnessed in the care homes I've recently visited. Sadly fees pushed down to the lowest possible level will result in poorer care and produce results such as this article describes. I really feel we are rapidly becoming a 'third world' country in respect of care for our elderly.

    http://maturetimes.co.uk/campaigns/c...cared-for.html

    xxTinaT
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for everything....

  2. #2
    While I have no intention of denying there are many aspects of care in residential homes which cause concern, I do wish there would be less scaremongering in these reports.

    Eg. The opening sentence.......

    Vulnerable, elderly care home residents are being forced to spend their final months or years living off 'value' food and squash it has emerged.
    Has the writer of the report conducted a comparative check on the number of `vulnerable elderly` living in their own homes on such a diet. Or tried to find out how many of the same `vulnerable elderly` wrap themselves in layers of extra clothing to save on the gas and electricity bills.

    I`m all for responsible research but really dislike the tabloid approach.

    I know my husband`s home provides very good food but they also provide `value squash`. I admit I turned my nose up when I first saw it , but later reasoned his physical health is better now than it was when he was at home with me, so who am I to complain.

    Incidentally, I have been buying a top brand granulated sugar substitute for my diabetic husband. The cook at his care home examined the make up of this brand, in comparison with a well known supermarket`s `own brand` , and found it to be identical, at a fraction of the price. The home always has this `own brand` in and so I was advised not to waste my money on the more expensive one.

    Balanced reports would carry much more weight.

    Sylvia

    Former Carer and Volunteer Moderator .

    I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Grannie G View Post
    While I have no intention of denying there are many aspects of care in residential homes which cause concern, I do wish there would be less scaremongering in these reports.

    Eg. The opening sentence.......



    Has the writer of the report conducted a comparative check on the number of `vulnerable elderly` living in their own homes on such a diet. Or tried to find out how many of the same `vulnerable elderly` wrap themselves in layers of extra clothing to save on the gas and electricity bills.

    I`m all for responsible research but really dislike the tabloid approach. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Balanced reports would carry much more weight.
    I have a problem Grannie G
    Dealing with your last point ,it is unfortunate but true that most newspapers
    get more out of reports that carry stark headlines
    This may be unfortunate , but as far as the readers are concerned this type of reporting carries more weight than 'the balanced reporting
    Many ,many times you may see reports in the 'popular' newspapers with headlines that vaguely distort the full story, and this is very true with reports on care for the elderly and frail
    Read the full report in the more 'responsible papers' and you often get a more
    balanced perspective
    But which article gets the most attention???? the stark headline or the ' balanced report''
    It may be regretable but it is the tabloid report that stirs them up
    Circumstances may be different but even in our own Talking Point there is little interest in 'Raising Awareness 'thread
    I think my point is that whilst more responsible reporting would be ideal , the headline grabbing report will recieve more attention by the general public , and if you are trying to make them more aware of a subject it is these headlines that will better aid your purpose
    I am not arguing against your contention on more balance reporting , but this is my delemna
    Whigh reporting will bring the most attention to the general public on such matters that are important to the need for awareness
    jimbo 111

  4. #4
    Jiimbo, I do take your point, but do you not think that scare-mongering reporting can actually do more harm than good? That is, the more sensational the reporting, the less sensitized people become. Further, the there's an element of crying wolf that means that sometimes what it truly egregious doesn't get the attention it deserves. Is any attention better than no attention? I would say perhaps not when it serves only to perpetuate stereotypes and allows people to be "shocked and horrified" over their tea and toast but that's about it.

    I suspect there isn't a hard and fast answer.

    P.S. As to the 'value' food aspect - well I call this fiscally responsible and is what I do in my own home.
    Jennifer

    Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.

    “A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”

    Abraham J. Heschel

  5. #5
    We can but read and make our own decision on the truth of the article and the 'scaremongering' sentences.

    I know for a fact that some care homes in my area have had a reduction in their food budget and that there is less and less variety of vegetables and meat. Fish which used to be freshly bought from a fishmonger, now is frozen and of inferior quality. The same economy dishes are served several times a week, the same basic sweets served and although no one is malnourished, the food can become repetative and unappetising. Residents do not have the choice we have in our own homes and have to eat what they are given. None of this matters a jot to my husband; he eats what he is given happily as he has done all his life but I have heard remarks from some residents who get tired of the 'same old, same old'.

    If I was to tell you the average daily budget per person is around the £3 mark for food and beverages in care homes, would you be surprised? Very few treats are available on such a budget. At least if you are in your own home and of sound mind you can treat yourself now and again even if money is tight.

    Hidden cost cutting also goes on with less and less training and what training there is now is often of an ' e training' type with no nationally recognised qualifications, no set curriculum which must be fully completed and often staff left with little or no information about caring for dementia sufferers. Staffing levels are often also at a crucially low level which is especially problematic when caring for highly dependant residents who need intensive care.

    Some hidden consequencies of the 'sqeeze' on budgets for running care homes results in there being no margin for even small luxuries. A duo of singers charges £70 for entertaining care homes for a few hours. A visit out takes a carer away from the home and needs a ratio of one carer to one resident. Such treats are rarely seen nowadays in care homes and have to be very carefully budgeted for.

    I have sadly observed such things and seen a deterioration in care in some care homes. Thankfully, the staff in my husband's care home have worked there for many, many years and I know get regular dementia care training from the local authority.

    Reading beyond the headline grabbing language, in my opinion and observations there is indeed cause for concern. These are notable effects of the squeezing of care home fees no matter what language a reporter uses.

    xxTinaT
    Last edited by TinaT; 02-04-2012 at 04:23 PM.
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for everything....

  6. #6
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    It's certainly food for thought Tina. I must admit that when looking at care homes for mum it didn't occur to me to ask about the food budget!

    I know that hospitals are on a minimal budget for food ( in fact prisons get a higher amount per head ) but I don't know what percentage of the fees at mum's care home is allocated to food. That's another question to add to my list for Thursday when I have a review meeting with the manager.

    Mo
    x

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinaT View Post
    We can but read and make our own decision on the truth of the article and the 'scaremongering' sentences.

    I know for a fact that some care homes in my area have had a reduction in their food budget and that there is less and less variety of vegetables and meat. Fish which used to be freshly bought from a fishmonger, now is frozen and of inferior quality. The same economy dishes are served several times a week, the same basic sweets served and although no one is malnourished, the food can become repetative and unappetising. Residents do not have the choice we have in our own homes and have to eat what they are given. None of this matters a jot to my husband; he eats what he is given happily as he has done all his life but I have heard remarks from some residents who get tired of the 'same old, same old'.

    If I was to tell you the average daily budget per person is around the £3 mark for food and beverages in care homes, would you be surprised? Very few treats are available on such a budget. At least if you are in your own home and of sound mind you can treat yourself now and again even if money is tight.

    Hidden cost cutting also goes on with less and less training and what training there is now is often of an ' e training' type with no nationally recognised qualifications, no set curriculum which must be fully completed and often staff left with little or no information about caring for dementia sufferers. Staffing levels are often also at a crucially low level which is especially problematic when caring for highly dependant residents who need intensive care.

    Some hidden consequencies of the 'sqeeze' on budgets for running care homes results in there being no margin for even small luxuries. A duo of singers charges £70 for entertaining care homes for a few hours. A visit out takes a carer away from the home and needs a ratio of one carer to one resident. Such treats are rarely seen nowadays in care homes and have to be very carefully budgeted for.

    I have sadly observed such things and seen a deterioration in care in some care homes. Thankfully, the staff in my husband's care home have worked there for many, many years and I know get regular dementia care training from the local authority.

    Reading beyond the headline grabbing language, in my opinion and observations there is indeed cause for concern. These are notable effects of the squeezing of care home fees no matter what language a reporter uses.

    xxTinaT
    This is interesting, Tina, and makes me realise how lucky we are with our local authority care home.
    The food served to residentts is identical to that served to visitors in the cafe on the premises.
    A couple of staff members regularly arrange craft fairs and open days from which they raise small amounts of cash (it's a poor area) for residents outings. I'm happy to support them in any way I can and am currently knitting mobile phone socks as if they've gone out of fashion to help with the fund raising for the next event.
    We regularly take in treats for the residents because we know money is tight. If I see biscuits reduced or tea and coffee on offer locally I will take some in.

    I know that this is probably frowned on by many who feel that everything should be provided by the state. I don't have a political view and would prefer to stay neutral in politics. But it does give me a glow to think I'm helping to bring some cheer to the lives of the vulnerable.
    It's hard to feel as fit as a fiddle when you're the shape of a cello.

  8. #8
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    The care home my mum was in was awarded a 5 star category for the quality of food and choice of menu,something the 'management' were very proud of.Unfortunately the quality of care was disgraceful.

    I spent a lot of time at mum's home,most of the 'quality' food was thrown away.I'd rather their food budget had been cut,and more money had been spent on 'quality' care.

  9. #9
    Your care home Goingitalone does much the same as my husband's in trying to get money together for residents' activities. I also contribute to the raffles, etc., and at the moment we have an easter egg raffle going on but I'm afraid it is no substitute for properly funded care. I got smacked on the hands somewhat when I asked at afternoon tea why the residents hadn't got a shortbread biscuit from the large tin I took in. I was sheepishly and embarassedly told that my tin had gone past the sell by date and they were not allowed to use it! Was my face red!!!

    Kassy, the article is not solely about food but the quality of care although this thread has somewhat got sidetracked by the food issue. I couldn't agree with you more in that compassionate and good care is paramount. That's the reason I love the care my husband gets and I don't look too much at other things.

    xxTinaT
    Last edited by TinaT; 02-04-2012 at 09:54 PM.
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for everything....

  10. #10
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    Many thanks Tina.
    As you stated in your original post, the article is certainly worth a read.

    I'd not heard of the Mature Times newspaper before and I thought for a moment the ensuing discussion was about a story in the mainstream tabloids i.e. Express or Daily Mail. I'd be interested to know what everyone here thinks of Mature Times as a publication and a voice?

    My opinion is that nothing will change for the better unless the good, the bad and the ugly is reported and this can only be done through many diverse mediums and voices. Thank goodness the internet is helping in this respect.
    x
    "The best of life is further on, hidden from our eye beyond the hills of time" - Sir William Mulock.

  11. #11
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    Thank you Tina for bringing this to the atention of those of us who care, i fail to see how the RCN can be acused of scaremongering or tabloid journalism but then there are always those who prefer to adopt the ostirich view and bury there heads in the sand.
    John.

  12. #12
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    Thank you, Tina, for drawing attention to such an important report by the Royal College of Nursing. The article in Mature Times was certainly worth reading, and the full RCN report is worth reading too. It’s extremely well-balanced, responsible and researched with care.

    Persistent challenges to providing quality care
    An RCN report on the views and experiences of frontline nursing staff in care homes in England.


    http://www.rcn.org.uk/__data/assets/...ty_care_v5.pdf

    ‘In 2004 and 2010, the RCN carried out surveys of its members who work in care homes and published the reports Impact of low fees for care homes in the UK (Royal College of Nursing, 2004) and Care homes under pressure (Royal College of Nursing, 2010). What was striking about both reports’ findings was their similarity, despite having been conducted six years apart. Findings included: rising dependency and care needs of residents, inappropriate admissions and lack of equipment, inadequate staffing levels and inappropriate skill mix to meet nursing and care needs.’

    ‘The RCN will continue to highlight these challenges until fair and sustainable resources are provided and reforms are implemented that accommodate the care needs of residents in England’s care homes.’

    If tha's ‘scaremongering’ we need more of it. I’d call it raising awareness of the serious challenges currently faced by the most basic and crucial elements of care.

    The Alzheimer’s Society put together a report under the heading ‘Enough is enough: it’s time to change the way we pay for care’.

    I’d like to rephrase that heading for the purposes of this thread:

    Enough is enough: it’s time to change the care we pay for.

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    Do you know something, I am now, at last, quite relieved that my husband is in a nursing home run by the LA and this is supported by what Tina and Maggie have written. My husband has a choice of meals at lunchtime and in the evening, often home-made biscuits with their mid-afternoon cuppa - surely more economical than buying ready-made and, dare I say it ,Rob.....'s fruit drink in the lounge though I do take different varieties of this into his room as well . The home is are now to have the input of a nutritionist whose brief is to improve meals further though at a relative's meeting last week everyone agreed that the food, portion size and quality was fine.
    Yes, the meals can seem a bit repetative but that is often what people like especially when they get older - I myself, find that I am reverting to the more basic, familiar food these days having tired of the endless variety of recent years!

    All carers are also trained to national qualification levels and are encouraged to carry on beyond basic level. Their qualifications have recently been added to the staff photo board for all of us to see. Some carers are more caring than others and I have issues from time to time about the standard of care but this is generally down to thoughtlessness rather than lack of caring or sometimes time.

    As mentioned in Tina's and Maggie's posts, The Activities Organizers run raffles - Easter eggs at present - have fetes and sell books etc. to help with activity costs and these in themselves can generate enthusiasm as well as cash.

    Anyone who has read Loo's and my thread will know that there have been problems recently in the home which have upset me but I have to say that the will and determination to rectify these problems from those in authority has been fantastic.
    Whether the result will reflect this is as yet not known but, naturally, I sincerely hope so. Certainly staffing levels are set to increase as well as other financial commitments.

    However, along with the need for improvements in the care for the elderly, there is a great need for the status and salary of carers to be enhanced and their contribution valued. One cannot happen without the other and an incentive for every carer to have the necessary skill training is essential.

  14. #14
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    Smile Good news stories

    It's such a pity that there isn't more good news about care homes reported in the media.

    I've just discovered this website http://myhomelifemovement.org - has anyone else heard of this initiative?

    Quote from home page: My Home Life aims to celebrate existing best practice in care homes and promote care homes as a positive option for older people. The My Home Life team is working to help you improve the quality of life in your care home, through the development of a range of resources, events, practice development initiatives and other activities.
    "The best of life is further on, hidden from our eye beyond the hills of time" - Sir William Mulock.

  15. #15
    Wow Janise,

    I've given the site a cursary look but it seems very promising. I haven't yet seen how much it would cost to attend seminars or seek advice from the body but the make up of the governing board seems impressive.

    As I say I've yet to have a more detailed look at the site but how great it would be if it did indeed become a body which can advise and assist all care homes. When I was teaching there was government directives and government bodies freely available and accessible with detailed plans on how to deliver the national curriculum. It would be tremendous if the site developed along these practical and workable lines.

    I like the following quote from the website:

    Crucial to this is our belief that the care home needs to become a community of those who live there, those who work in it and those whose relatives orfriends are residents. Care homes also need to berecognised as being a part of the wider community and valued for the vital role that they play.
    [/U][/U]
    I wait to see how this will be turned into practical help and advice.

    I will keep my eye on this site to see how it progresses,
    xxTinaT
    Last edited by TinaT; 04-04-2012 at 11:38 AM.
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for everything....

 

 

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