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Panorama - Undercover: Elderly Care

Chemmy

Registered User
Nov 7, 2011
7,591
Yorkshire
What I get irritated by is care homes (and other care organizations ) that take the position that cameras can't be allowed because it infringes on the privacy of the carers. Now there, I think you have a real case to make the point that if it's all right for shop workers (for example) to be watched all day then it's definitely OK for care workers to be watched as they perform their jobs.
I didn't know that. Don't they have CCTV in some nurseries so the mums can have a look at what's going on via their phone?

It's also interesting to consider whether moving dementia residents who can no longer communicate and are at the 'mercy' of the carers into dormitories - like a hospital ward - rather than private bedrooms would, in fact, be a option that would be more easily supervised.

Would I choose that for my mum...? I don't know.
 

tre

Registered User
Sep 23, 2008
1,353
Herts
When I was working ( gave up to become a full time carer for my husband last September) our boss introduced a recording of all the phone calls a few years back. To start off with it felt uncomfortable but it did not take us long to realise that if you were doing your job properly what it actually was was proof of that. It never caused me any problems and in fact when dealing with a difficult or bullying customer it turned out to be a godsend. There was one person in particular who was a nightmare to deal with and once we had the call recording system when he complained to my boss about how he had been dealt with and the boss then listened to the call I was amazed to find he had called the customer and said that everything had been done correctly and he asked the customer not to be abusive to us. I thought the result would be we lost the customer but he rang and apologised and was no problem from then on.
So I would say that there is nothing to worry about and indeed it protects you if you are doing your best. Two members of staff who had been employed long term and the boss had really valued did not stay around long when their true colours were revealed. Before the call recording there would have been no point in being a whistle blower as you would never have been believed. After the call recording there was no need to be a whistle blower, the evidence was there.
Tre
 

Goingitalone

Registered User
Feb 11, 2010
1,685
Well, I bit the bullet and watched it. Now I'm worrying a little about some bruising on Mum's hand which I noticed about 4 weeks ago.
I wish I had the courage to put a hidden camera in her room. It frightens me to imagine what I might see.

I've been very happy with Mum's care up till recently. I really thought she was in the best place in the area. An incident recently worried me a lot, but after speaking with the manager and finding her completely open with me, I felt better.

The truth is, we can't ever really know our relatives is safe 24/7. We have to trust the staff on duty at any given time. That 'nurse' who was convicted was trusted and respected but look how he acted when alone.

I'm sure things have improved since our grandparents' time, but improvements are so slow. Things really do have to change.

I wish I could be at Mum's home more. It's an hour's journey away and family commitments here prohibit more than a visit or two a week. I now have my ill brother and elderly MIL to look out for, as well as grandchildren. And I'm feeling more tired now than ever. :(

I still have that constant anxiety for Mum, though. I don't think it will ever go away. :(
 

Boudeca2007

Registered User
Oct 29, 2011
92
Ofcourse I would not advocate a camera in a bathroom or toilet !! Good grief I would indeed be very weird if I did say that ......... but I didn't.

My late Mum had been in various nursing homes since 2004 and she could not communicate in any way , she had severe cognitive disability, had numerous falls 2 in which she broke her hip and the nurse put her to bed that same night without any medical intervention until lunch time the next day. The 2nd occasion was the result of an assault by another resident.

So yes I would advocate the use of a camera if I had the choice when my Mum was going through all of this terrible trauma - at least I could have picked up on her pain with the broken hips !! I don;t like the attitude like ' we can't see it so it's not happening ' . And ofcourse it would have to be with the persons relatives written consent - that goes without saying.

What is the point of these Panorama programmes highlighting what happened in just 1 care home in the country when it will happen again and again in some other care homes? We must introduce some kind of safety net for these vulnerable people. There are hundreds more care homes around the country and cameras would go a little way to make relatives feel a bit more secure in the knowledge that they could actually see what was happening to their vulnerable parents/sisters/brothers etc.

Not everything in life is black and white - sometimes we have to wander into the grey areas.
 

frazzled1

Registered User
Aug 25, 2011
212
london
i also bit the bullet and watched the programme. I found it utterly heartbreaking. I wonder if this really is an "isolated incident"? I suspect not, as it amounts to domestic violence/abuse and its horrifiyingly widespread. It hasnt put me off care homes because i recently got a guided tour around one that SEEMS really really lovely. I have to add the word "seems" because no one really knows what goes on at night after the relatives have gone from their visits and the place gets locked at night. Many years ago I saw a bit of verbal abuse in a hospital environment and witnessed staff swearing and it only happened at night cos i think the night shift staff really really resented working shifts (I overheard their conversation that they did) but the day staff were lovely. Long hours working on low pay fuel the fire for staff resentment but this programme really had me terrified witnessing such a basic lack of human decency. My mother told me that she was bullied during nights in her London hospital but that she was o.k. during daytimes (when i would visit for a few hours i would not sense any problems, but different staff came on during nights, and sadly she died days after she told me this). Sorry but this programme had the effect of actually making me think that if i was sliding into immobility and total dependance on others that i would rather just "go".
 

TinaT

Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
7,095
Bolton
There are always objections to something new Boudecca!

I'm with you all the way on this one and I'm sure if a care home were to offer this service in their care homes, it would be welcomed with open arms by most relatives.

New technology is being introduced into many care homes such as telecare products which alert a central nurses station to doors being open, getting out of bed, monitoring who comes and goes etc., etc. To my mind if carefully and sensitively handled, CCTV cameras in private bedrooms would be a great step forward and appointed relatives could remotely check by being linked via the internet and security passwords. This would give great peace of mind (or proof of something going wrong).

None of this is impossible to install and the initial cost of all this has been included in many business plans, especially large companies who use CCTV as a matter of course both on employees and any one else who is on their premises.

If it saves one resident from suffering what we saw on the hidden camera footage, it will be a mighty step forward in ensuring the safety of vulnerable residents.

xxTinaT
 

tre

Registered User
Sep 23, 2008
1,353
Herts
In my mum's care home for the last two weeks up until mum died my dad was allowed to stay with her at night. They brought an extra bed into her room for him. He complained mum was not checked on at night as often as he would have thought but I think the checks were less as dad was there to alert them to anything untoward. He did not have any other bad comments about the night staff. They were also very kind to my dad
Tre
 

TinaT

Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
7,095
Bolton
Most care homes would be quite happy for a relative to spend nights in the care home if the circumstances warrented this. I stayed in my husband's care home for three nights when he was recovering from a hernia operation. The staff were very kind to me but I didn't get much sleep because the old lady in the bedroom below shouted out counting even numbers, then odd numbers all night long!! I was very fond of her but quite honestly after two nights of this I was desperate for her to shut up. Thankfully she did not seem to disturb my husband.

I hope that the majority of night time staff are kind and respectful in dealing with residents and I'm sure they would not be at all worried about CCTV monitoring residents.

I have posted about why I think this particular abuse took place and that care homes must have a duty of responsibility for both monitoring their workers and safeguarding residents.

xxTinaT
 

Jancis

Registered User
Jun 30, 2010
2,567
67
Hampshire
It isn`t just about the carers. Change has got to come from the top. Directors/management have to be on the shop floor more often.Care companies have to be more accountable.
Most of you know that I am a care provider. I worry,I have sleepless nights, are any of my carers not meeting standards. I rely on other staff whistle blowing,I rely on vigorous training including dignity in care,I rely on my senior staff sharing my passion and if anything is done wrong I haul them over the coals so to speak.
I rely on constant feedback from relatives and my senior staff.I still have sleepless nights though and sometimes I don`t want to be a care provider any more.
Having been an employer (running a small commercial company) for 25 years, my pet phrase was always "you just can't get the staff these days:rolleyes:". My employees were paid way more than the minimum wage and I had over 50 graduates apply for every job I advertised. But even though I could be very picky about who I employed I found managing people on the whole complex and extremely stressful. What must it be like to manage a care home looking after dementia sufferers with challenging and uniquely individual care needs? AND looking after the lowly paid staff looking after them? Does anyone on this forum actually know? Danny seems to be the only one here who has more than an inkling? I'm not defending anyone, just musing on the issues of dementia care in general.
 

Livingstone

Registered User
Apr 25, 2012
2
CQC / Media

It's an unfortunate fact of life that the media never run programmes about good practice in homes, so it's no wonder relatives who are already wrestling with mixed emotions about placing mother, father or whoever in a home have a hard time.
Although I agree that these practices need to be exposed I'm not so sure that TV or newspapers is the place for it.
CQC take a yearly 'snap shot' of most homes, and come to a conclusion based on this 'snap shot'.
If a home is having a 'bad hair day' that is reflected in the CQC report irrespective of the other 364 days of the year.
The whole system of home regulation needs to be reviewed with input from ALL concerned, and although I'm no great fan of CQC I can see no mileage in blaming them for the actions of a few idiots.
 

Livingstone

Registered User
Apr 25, 2012
2
Having been an employer (running a small commercial company) for 25 years, my pet phrase was always "you just can't get the staff these days:rolleyes:". My employees were paid way more than the minimum wage and I had over 50 graduates apply for every job I advertised. But even though I could be very picky about who I employed I found managing people on the whole complex and extremely stressful. What must it be like to manage a care home looking after dementia sufferers with challenging and uniquely individual care needs? AND looking after the lowly paid staff looking after them? Does anyone on this forum actually know? Danny seems to be the only one here who has more than an inkling? I'm not defending anyone, just musing on the issues of dementia care in general.
Yes it leads to many sleepless nights, and a rapid increase in the ageing process.
As a Home Manager I often wonder why care staff do the job they do.
It's not because they like working for the lowest possible pay.
It's not because they like juggling with various bodily fluids or excrement.
It's not because when friends or families are having a good time in the evening or at weekends they are working unsocial hours.
It's because they actually CARE and as a nation we seem to be quite happy insulting these noble people with basic minimum pay or just slightly better.
The actions of criminal idiots such as those highlighted in the Panorama programme is no excuse for continuing to insult genuine care staff with poor pay and conditions.
As a final thought I would ask, how many programmes get televised, or highlighted in the press for good care or practice?
 

beech mount

Registered User
Sep 1, 2008
1,524
Manchester
Livingstone,good care and pratice should be the norm, and if bad care and pratice is not highlited in the press etc where should it be shown? Do not try to brush this of as an "Isolated incedent"
John.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,827
Kent
I agree bad care and practice should be identified and publicised, but it should not be allowed to undermine the integrity of good carers.
 

Goingitalone

Registered User
Feb 11, 2010
1,685
It's an unfortunate fact of life that the media never run programmes about good practice in homes, so it's no wonder relatives who are already wrestling with mixed emotions about placing mother, father or whoever in a home have a hard time.
Although I agree that these practices need to be exposed I'm not so sure that TV or newspapers is the place for it.
CQC take a yearly 'snap shot' of most homes, and come to a conclusion based on this 'snap shot'.
If a home is having a 'bad hair day' that is reflected in the CQC report irrespective of the other 364 days of the year.
The whole system of home regulation needs to be reviewed with input from ALL concerned, and although I'm no great fan of CQC I can see no mileage in blaming them for the actions of a few idiots.
Welcome, Livingstone,

I was so pleased to read your input onto the site and hope that you will post again.

I'm sure you can understand the anxiety of the relatives who have posted on this thread. We're trusting people we barely know with the care of people so very precious to us and all we have to go on are what we see and hear when we visit and the poor communication of our vulnerable relative. No wonder a programme like this week's Panorama strikes terror in us.

Your posts could give us the balance and reassurance we need.

We all need to work together if things are going to improve. Since you carers and us relatives see the most of our vulnerable loved ones we are ideally placed to achieve good care. If we do more to support you and you can understand our concerns we're well on the way to do this.

Please don't feel that you are 'the enemy'. I, for one, appreciate the work you do. Just tell me what I can do to help make Mum's last days happy and contented and I'll do all I can.

God bless,

Maggie
 

Padraig

Registered User
Dec 10, 2009
1,039
Hereford
Telling it how it is

As some one who placed a loved one in a NH and went through hell over that period I have only myself to blame knowing some of the short comings of the system. When we place a loved one in the custody of strangers it is a very stressful and emotional period and it is not always possible to think clearly. We're naturally engrossed in our own feelings.
Do we really expect strangers to care to the same degree as we do for the one we know and love? In spite of our love and compassion for our own, who of us can say during caring, that there were not times when we felt like screaming and stressed to breaking point? We then hand over that responsibility of care to paid strangers and expect better!

This morning at 04.30AM I accidentally watched Panorama (not something I wanted to watch) and had that man treated my wife the manner he treated the lady, there is no doubt everyone would have known about it, most of all that coward. On reflection I'm pleased to have kept my cool on a number occasions at incidences that occurred. Once I had to leave the building to cool off.
The positives I derived from spending 8-9 hours a day at the 'home' was to learn the limitations of the system. For another few hours and less expense and more peace of mind I found it easier to care for her at home. Of course I had to pay to convert the house to make it fit for purpose and purchased commode, wheelchair etc. but at least I was in control. My wife had no drugs for Alzheimer's during her 12-13 year journey. No one in the NH could explain why she was being given so many drugs during her stay. The bag full of drugs they gave me on our departure I handed in to our GP.
A visit once a week, or an hour visit a day can not give you a true picture of the workings of a NH.
 

sue38

Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
10,849
52
Wigan, Lancs
Hi Livingstone and welcome to TP.

I think in most professions it is the rogue element that gets the headlines simply because it makes a good story, and those quietly getting on with doing a good job are tainted with the same brush. It's frustrating, but a fact of life.

The only answer I think is better regulation, not necessarily more, just better. I HATE the tick box type of regulation that it seems to me CQC favours. In my profession we now have something called 'outcome focussed regulation' (I'm not a fan of jargon either :rolleyes:) but the idea is that the regulators look at the bigger picture i.e. did you achieve the outcome the client wanted, not did you follow all the guidelines to the letter without actually achieving anything?

I'm not sure if this would transfer to the care industry, but I would like to see CQC concentrating less on detailed regulation; more visits rather than the one day a year snapshot; and more on is the person in the care home actually happy, safe and well cared for?

Livingstone, I applaud you and your staff for the job you do, and I hope you stay with us on TP. I think it would be valuable to the forum to have a perspective from the other side.
 

danny

Registered User
Sep 9, 2009
3,342
cornwall/real name is Angela
Hi everyone. Just want to say that as well as the centre for dementia support services I have a domicilary care company not a care home. I worry because carers in the community work alone and it is difficult to keep an eye on everyone all the time.I worry because there are so many awful care stories out at present and I hope and pray that my carers would never let us down.These articles make it very uncomfortable not just for me but my staff, and whilst today I trust each and every member of my team there is always that shred of doubt that creeps in after reading or watching documentaries and it bothers me.Just coming from another angle because we need to stamp out bad practice but we also need to encourage the good, and sadly no one wants to hear about the good.
 

jeany123

Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
19,036
71
Durham
Hi everyone. Just want to say that as well as the centre for dementia support services I have a domicilary care company not a care home. I worry because carers in the community work alone and it is difficult to keep an eye on everyone all the time.I worry because there are so many awful care stories out at present and I hope and pray that my carers would never let us down.These articles make it very uncomfortable not just for me but my staff, and whilst today I trust each and every member of my team there is always that shred of doubt that creeps in after reading or watching documentaries and it bothers me.Just coming from another angle because we need to stamp out bad practice but we also need to encourage the good, and sadly no one wants to hear about the good.
I think that anyone needing care for themselves or a relative would love to hear about the good .
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,827
Kent
Everyone does want to hear about the good Angela, but good should not make headlines, it should be expected as standard.

Bad needs to make headlines because it is the only way it will stop it.

My heart goes out to good carers. I know how hard they work and i know how poorly they are paid. I also know how dreadful good carers feel when bad care is publicised, thinking they will all be tarred with the same brush.