New research from Independent Age, the older people’s charity, has found that over half of British adults (52%) believe that abuse and neglect in care homes for the elderly is common. Of those, many say their opinion is based on personal experience – either knowing someone in a care home (15%), working in a care home (5%), or hearing personal experience from others (25%).
Our new report, ‘Shining a light on care: Helping people make better care home choices’ calls for new measures to understand the scale of the problem. We want the government to take responsibility for collecting core information about care homes to give earlier warnings of a home providing poor care.
Better information and transparency about quality of care must be made available to the public when choosing care. We also want the Department of Health to commission a social care staff survey similar to the NHS staff survey asking if staff would recommend the provider they work for and whether they have witnessed neglect or abuse. Our new report also recommends that the Competition and Markets Authority conducts a full market review of the care home sector.
The latest figures from the care watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, show that, while the majority of care homes inspected are rated “good” or outstanding”, nearly 4,000 care homes in England are delivering substandard care or are struggling to improve.
We have two free advice guides currently available to download or order, which may help people affected by these issues.
Anyone who needs more information about how to choose a care home for themselves or for an older relative or friend can order the How to find the right care home guide for free at independentage.org/care-home-guide or by calling 0800 319 6789. Those who need more targeted guidance can call the free Independent Age helpline on 0800 319 6789 to arrange to speak to an expert adviser.
If you’re worried about yourself or a loved one, the ‘Staying in control when you’re older’ leaflet can be downloaded for free at: www.independentage.org/information/advice-guides-factsheets-leaflets/staying-control-when-youre-older or by calling 0800 319 6789 for free. The free Independent Age advice line (0800 319 6789) can offer advice to those who think they are being abused or may be at risk of abuse so please do get in touch if you have any concerns.
Chief Executive, Independent Age