The simple answer is ‘it should not be’, but in reality it is, but is it.
I use home care on a 24/7 basis to care for my daughter, who lives with me in our own home. My daughter will be 53 on 19 December 2020 and has multiple physical and severe learning disabilities and also autism.
As we are in a Tier 3 area she is not able to go out for lunch and has not been since February/March 2020, which she did 3 times per week. In addition she lost her mother and my wife on 26 September 2020, from non-COVID-19 conditions.
Although we have tried to explain why and that she will not see her mother again, we are not sure how much she understands and it is a considerable loss to her routine.
While she can communicate verbally, to some extent, she mainly decides not to do so, be this because she has decided so, or is unable to comprehend how to, we do not really know and will self-harm, lash out to harm others, etc, but to her this is another form of communication. If we put reasons forward, such as do you miss, Zoe, her Mum, or not going out, she will say yes, because she does and will say what she feels we want to hear, but it may not be correct, mixture of reasons or something new.
However, we have a very excellent team of carers, who understand that she does not mean to act in this way and do all they can to calm the situation, which generally does not last for long and afterwards she appears to be OK, but is she really?
The carers are also missing Zoe and I certainly am and we understand the situation, but we have difficulties managing our feelings and if we do not it is generally expected that we are trying to cope.
So, why do some people not extend this to people with disabilities, for that is the problem, not persons with disabilities, for they are just trying to live their lives the best they can.
Rather, than concentrating on why people with disabilities react in certain way, sure we should be concentrating on why some carers are not working in ways that they should.
Is it because, they put themselves first, do not care, a lack of understanding, a person who should not be in the caring profession, a really bad person, etc.
So, we look at those who do care and do show understanding to be the exception when it should be those who do not.
Caring is not understood by many and some of these are in the caring profession.
But it is not just the care workers, for some in management are also not working correctly, as they,
- do not manage quality and in doing so allow bad quality care to be done
- are also there for themselves instead of the persons in need of care and their care workers
- have a ‘cavalier’ attitude to working practices
- and others
But the monitoring of care is also falling well below the standard required by both the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Local Authorities, who, I feel concentrate far too much on record keeping, rather than actual care delivery.
Yes, good quality records do need to be maintained, but in reality anything can be written down, for who is to say that the written record is correct and even then some organisations can not even keep good quality records.
More needs to be done and the poor and bad organisations and the similar care workers should be ‘weeded’ out of the profession.
But due to years of major underfunding of Social Care, by this current Government and many previously, there is, I feel, a misplaced view, perhaps by some Local Authorities, that they wish to maintain the current amount of Care organisations, rather than to remove some. For in my own area of the UK I am aware of some organisations who should not be there, but, in some respects, the proof is not easy to find, as you can not go on ‘here say’.
While, I myself will speak out about practices I feel are bad, there are many persons in need of care and also their families who are reluctant to for many reasons
- have complained before and not been listened to
- have complained before and told by the care organisation, that the care being given is there to stay and if not accepted then care will be withdrawn. You could say, well so be it, but to have bad care from one organisation or a number of organisations, then there is a feeling that the next one could be even worse or even no organisations will come forward
- have no confidence in the complaints procedure of both the care organisation and in some respects, the Local Authorities
- time lapse from dispensing of care from one organisation and the take up of another
- lack of care workers in the profession, let alone good quality care workers
In saying all of the above, it is stating a depressing view of care within the UK, but, I do feel it is not as bad as stated, but even one instance is bad and should not occur.
While saying, people are reluctant to complain, there is even a further reluctance or more likely ‘not top of the actions’ for people to praise good quality care for it is expected that good quality care should be there all the time, so mentioning bad quality is more common than expressing about good quality care. If this is correct, then it is creating a false impression of care in the UK and could well demoralise those who are producing good quality care.
For the absence of good quality care comments is not the only absence for the lack of funding in Social Care is allowing
- care workers to be in receipt of an abysmal rate of pay for the responsibilities they are taking on, many on just the National Living Wage or below, rather than the Real Living Wage as put forward by the Living Living Wage Foundation.
- working conditions are far from good
- no staff sick pay scheme, especially in the current COVID-19 climate
- unsocial working hours, including working all Bank Holidays, yes, including Christmas and New Year for care workers, are essential workers and in many instances are not recognised as such. In the recent ‘clapping for carers’, how many of us clapping, if asked would say NHS Workers, or just Doctors and nurses, when everyone in care, be they be, NHS, private, public, etc, they were and should have been included.
- and others
But again, the Government are not recognising this, for they appear to be making an exception for Doctors and Nurses in the coming pay freeze, whereas care workers are also essential workers, as are teachers, refuse workers, ambulance staff and many others. But many care workers are only on the National Living Wage, or below, rather than on the Real Living Wage as calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.
Government funding, that is sufficient Government funding for Social Care for all the years of insufficient funding, going back to 1970 and before, let alone the 10 years of austerity cuts and the additional costs of COVID-19.
Yes, this Government has given some funding, especially with regards to COVID-19, bit it falls, substantially, short of what is, actually required, even the for the costs relating to COVID-19.
There are many reasons for failure in social care and funding could go somewhere is solving some of these reasons.
I feel so strongly, on this subject, that I created the petition, Solve the crisis in Social Care,
Yes, there are many reasons, so if some further information is required, please find it here, where some of these reasons are mentioned.
But, to go back to the article and the start of this post, none of these scandals and bad care should be occurring and it requires all of us to be observant and report every occasion of abuse and bad care, have a zero tolerance, for then most, if not all, bad care could be eradicated and basic decency while will still be remarkable, it will be more common place than it is now.
I wish to thank all in care who are providing good quality care and implore those who do not to follow the actions of those that do.
We all have a ‘Duty of Care’, be we work in care, manage care, have relatives in need of care, people in need of care, etc
I offer no apologises for the length of this post, for there is much to be said and to then be acted upon.
Source: After scandals like Winterbourne View, why is basic decency still remarkable? | Learning disability | The Guardian