Care Homes / Providers / Agencies : Sector News / Closures / Scandals / Police Investigations

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
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https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... -take-toll

400 care home operators collapse in five years as cuts bite.

More than 100 fail in 2018, with firms also hit by crippling debt and rising costs, says BDO.


More than 100 care home operators collapsed in 2018, taking the total over five years to more than 400 and sparking warnings that patients in homes that close down could be left with nowhere to go but hospitals.

UK care home firms are buckling under the pressure of funding cuts, crippling debt and rising costs, according to research by the accountancy firm BDO.

It found that in the period between 2014 and 2016 there were an average of 69 care home company insolvencies per year. The number rose sharply to 123 in 2017 and another 101 collapsed last year.

Martin Green, the chief executive of the social care trade body Care England, called for urgent action to avoid a shortage of beds in a sector that provides care and accommodation for more than 410,000 residents.

“The situation is serious and getting more serious,” Green said. “The cost of care is ever rising and yet the amount of money local authorities pay for care is at very best rising much more slowly or not at all.

“The implications are that a lot of people in those care homes will have to find somewhere else and that is extremely traumatic.”

He warned that the speed at which care homes are closing in some areas could leave residents with nowhere to go. “If there is less provision and less potential for people who leave care to find a place, their only resort will be to go to hospital.

“That will increase waiting times and mean cancelled operations, which is the opposite of what the government claims it’s trying to achieve.”

Green called for the government to put more money into social care so that local authorities can afford to pay care home operators to look after patients.

The future of funding for the sector is due to be laid out this year in a delayed government green paper intended to address a £3.5bn funding shortfall expected by 2025.

Major operators to suffer financial difficulty include Four Seasons Health Care, which has been put up for sale after rescue talks failed, seven years on from the high-profile collapse of Southern Cross.

BDO’s research said care homes, already struggling with debts racked up before the credit crunch, had “suffered as a result of the reduced spending by central government”.

It warned that further pain lay ahead, highlighting research from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services showing that councils had £700m of social care cuts planned in 2018-19, despite growing demand.

BDO also highlighted the rise in the national minimum wage from £7.50 to £7.83 in April 2018, adding that “Brexit uncertainty” was making matters worse because of concern about the freedom of movement for staff and the availability of drugs.

The shadow social care minister, Barbara Keeley, said the care home sector had been “driven to the edge of collapse by the Tories’ relentless pursuit of austerity.”

She said: “£7bn of cuts to council budgets putting older and disabled people at risk by pushing care homes to the brink of closure and heaping pressure on carers and an overstretched NHS.

“Labour would halt the slide to collapse in social care by investing an additional £8bn in social care before moving to develop a sustainable social care system for the long term.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are committed to ensuring everyone has access to the care and support they need. Although the number of care providers does fluctuate, the overall number of social care beds has remained broadly constant and there are over 3,600 more care home agencies since 2010 – helping people live in their homes for longer.

“We have provided local authorities with access to up to £3.6bn more dedicated funding for adult social care this year and up to £3.9bn for next year. We will shortly set out our plans to reform the social care system for adults of all ages to ensure it is sustainable for the future.”
Millions in Britain at risk of poor-quality later life, report says.

Ageing population and stretched care services leave poorest most vulnerable.

A landmark report on the state of ageing in Britain has warned that a significant proportion of people are at risk of spending later life in poverty, ill-health and hardship.

Britain is undergoing a radical demographic shift, with the number of people aged 65 and over set to grow by more than 40% in two decades, reaching more than 17 million by 2036. The number of households where the oldest person is 85 or over is increasing faster than any other age group.

But although we are living longer than ever before, the report warns that millions risk missing out on a good later life due to increasing pressure on health and care services, local authorities, the voluntary sector and government finances.

“Ageing is inevitable but how we age is not. Our current rates of chronic illness, mental health conditions, disability and frailty could be greatly reduced if we tackled the structural, economic and social drivers of poor health earlier,” said Dr Anna Dixon, the chief executive at Centre for Ageing Better.

“Our extra years of life are a gift that we should all be able to enjoy and yet - as this report shows - increasing numbers of us are at risk of missing out,” she added.

The Centre for Ageing Better’s report, The State of Ageing in 2019, warns that today’s least well-off over-50s face far greater challenges than wealthier peers and are likely to die younger, become sicker earlier and fall out of work due to ill-health.

The research brings together publicly available data sources to reveal vast differences in how people experience ageing depending on factors such as where they live, how much money they have or what sex or ethnicity they are.

While people aged 65 can expect to live just half of the remainder of their life without disability, those in less affluent parts of the country will die earlier and be sicker for longer. Ill-health is a major cause of people falling out of work prematurely and can affect quality of life and access to services such as healthcare.

The poorest people are three times more likely than the wealthiest to retire early because of ill-health: 39% of men and 31% of women compared with 6% of both sexes in the highest wealth quintile.

Although we are living far longer, a significant and increasing proportion of people are managing multiple health conditions and mobility problems from mid-life onwards, the report says. Of people aged 50 to 64, 23% have three or more long-term health conditions.

Meanwhile, the poorest men in society aged over 50 are three times more likely than the wealthiest to have chronic heart disease, two times more likely to have Type 2 diabetes, and two times more likely to have arthritis.

The report reveals that pensioner poverty is rising for the first time since 2010 and is more prevalent for women and black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups.

At least 1.3 million over-55s live in homes hazardous to their health and one in four 50- to 64 year-olds have three or more chronic health conditions.

The Centre for Ageing Better is calling on the government, businesses and charities to “rethink their approach and avoid storing up problems for the future”.

“This report is a wakeup call for us all – many people in their 50s and 60s now, particularly those who are less well-off, simply won’t get the quality of later life that they expect or deserve,” Dixon said.

“We must act now to add life to our years; to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to make the most of a longer life. Without radical action today to help people age well, we are storing up problems for the future and leaving millions at risk of poverty and poor health in later life.”
Private care homes are a failed model.

An overstretched NHS is being forced to pick up the pieces when private care homes go bust, writes Gillian Dalley.


One hundred care home operators are reported as going out of business last year, and over 400 in the past five years (Collapse of care home firms ‘could force patients into hospitals’, 12 March).

Residential care has for far too long been the unsuccessful model for services intended for the public good being run instead by the private sector.

Surely it is wrong for people, often in their final years, to live under the constant threat of homelessness, because care home owners are unable to make a profit. It is bad enough, at the best of times, that this model is based on a proportion of the fees paid to the homes (either by the state or by residents themselves) being extracted as profit for their owners.

But in times of prolonged austerity (as now), when the fine balance of “income in/profit out” is threatened, homes are closed down and chaos ensues – with residents moved on without consent to other “suitable” accommodation.

This often means NHS hospitals, proving a double burden on the state (with both the additional unplanned costs to the NHS of their new patients, often inappropriately placed, and the knock-on effects of delays to the treatment of those who otherwise would be treated).

It’s the same old tale of two models – the private sector providing public services, under contract to the state, run only so long as it makes profit, under no obligation to residents or staff. In contrast, the public sector operates only for the public good.
Parents of Mendip House resident say they were misled over abuse.

National Autistic Society downplayed allegations against staff in meeting with relatives, says family.


The parents of a vulnerable autistic woman staying at a flagship care home where residents were taunted, bullied and humiliated, claim they were misled by the charity running it over the scale of abuse.

The couple say they met with the National Autistic Society’s chief executive, and a senior staff member at Mendip House, in Somerset, but the allegations of abuse against staff were downplayed and not fully disclosed.

The retired couple – whose 44-year-old daughter suffers from severe autism as well as catatonia, a condition which sometimes renders her unable to move – said they were left “deeply shocked” to discover the extent of the abuse some 18 months later.


A damning report detailed how workers threw objects at residents as well as teasing and swearing at them. One whistleblower even claimed that a resident was slapped, forced to eat chillies and repeatedly thrown into a swimming pool. In another case a staff member was said to have put a ribbon around a resident’s neck and ridden him “like a horse”.

Earlier this month it emerged that Mendip House, which housed six residents before it was closed, had escaped prosecution over the failings but the charity was fined £4,000 by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) watchdog. The CQC said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

The charity’s CEO, Mark Lever, is stepping down in May after 11 years but denied it was anything to do with the National Autistic Society’s handling of Mendip House. On Friday, campaigners are due to protest outside the charity’s headquarters.

Barbara Keeley, the shadow minister for mental health and social care, is calling on the government to launch an inquiry into the abuse at Mendip House. She said: “It is utterly horrifying that the National Autistic Society has tried to downplay the appalling and dehumanising abuse meted out to vulnerable people.

“The families of residents at Mendip House who were subjected to such cruelty deserve answers, not least why the events of a case which amounts to ‘Winterbourne View without the cameras’ took so long to uncover and why there have been no prosecutions to date.”

A review in January 2018 by the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board into Mendip House detailed how one member of staff offered the couple’s daughter a cake and then took it away. The daughter also paid £715 for staff meals during outings, which she was subsequently reimbursed for.

The parents, who wish to remain anonymous, do not know the extent of their daughter’s exposure to the abuse but are sure she witnessed it. “She has a lot of empathy, she’s very sympathetic to things that are going on and she would be really worried about it but not know what to do about it. She’s completely helpless,” her mother explained.

Although they praised some staff at the home, the parents did raise concerns about the care of their daughter, who had been staying there for over 20 years. They say she twice had to be taken to hospital after being attacked by fellow residents, and on one occasion in 2014 was left in a car by staff for 13 hours.
Somerset care home staff bullied autistic residents, review finds
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In 2015, the mother complained about a “laddish culture” among some members of staff but claimed no action was taken.

In early June 2016, they and other relatives were called to a meeting by the charity after receiving a letter saying that “allegations had been made”. A whistleblower had gone to the charity in May alerting it to abuse allegations.

At the meeting, Lever and the head of operations for adult services, Hannah Barnett, sought to downplay the allegations, it is claimed.

“They would not tell us what the allegations were [but] that the manager and some staff had been [suspended],” the mother said.

“It was basically ‘nothing to worry about’, so actually we came away quite reassured. The bad people have been suspended and that was going to be sorted out. It just seemed, OK, they’ve got it all in hand.

“We were told they couldn’t tell us anything, what the allegations were, because it was an ongoing thing. But we believed them when they said it wasn’t anything to worry about.”

However, the mother said they were “all deeply shocked when they saw how bad the abuse was” when the safeguarding report was published 18 months later.

“It was serious ill-treatment of our kids. If that report hadn’t come out we wouldn’t have known any of this. I feel let down mostly because I had great faith in the National Autistic Society,” she said.

Their daughter has since been moved to a new home but the family is still “picking up the pieces”, she added.

Lever claimed at the time of the meeting the charity “did not know all the details” and were “limited in what we could say because there was an ongoing police investigation”. However, he conceded: “I think we could have referred to it as serious abuse. Perhaps the choice of language was designed to not worry parents. I think perhaps we could have been stronger on the language.”

He added: “We tried to be as open as we could be at the time and stressed that parents could raise any concerns or questions with us and we’d answer them as far as we were able … we updated families regularly … We’re very sorry to hear that the parents feel we misled them... This couldn’t have been further from what we intended.”

Lever said the charity was “very sorry” that the mother’s complaint about a “laddish culture” was not acted on and accepted it “should have been”, adding: “What happened at Mendip House was a combination of cruel and unprofessional behaviour by some staff and a failure to pick up on this quickly and put it right.”
A debt of gratitude to The Original Trawler for this one ... haway the lasses !

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/11153 ... s-complain

Cruel care homes evict OAPs: Residents turfed out when families complain about treatment.

VULNERABLE residents are being kicked out of care homes just 28 days after families raise fears about their treatment, the Daily Express can reveal.

Campaigners say so-called " Revenge evictions " are being carried out by rogue providers who want to silence claims of abuse and neglect.



The scale of the scandal is largely unknown but experts have voiced concerns that OAPs, many with complex care needs, are being turfed out at short notice, causing untold distress and disruption.

Last night they demanded urgent reform, saying new laws may prevent tenants from being put on the streets, but no such protection exists for frail care home residents already paying sky-high fees.

Care Campaign for the Vulnerable founder Jayne Connery said: "The frequency of such malign and morally bankrupt behaviour is escalating.

"Every single week I receive a complaint from a very agitated and anxious family telling me this is the course of action taken against their loved one.

"While I accept the vast majority of providers act responsibly, it seems too many use eviction notices or the threat of them as a tool to suppress complaints or address concerns."

In the majority of cases, letters are sent to families who have raised concerns because their loved ones do not have the capacity to complain themselves – leaving them less than a month to find new accommodation.

The Daily Express was told some providers issue notices because they have received genuine complaints about unexplained injuries, poor-quality care or staff shortages – and do not want the trouble of dealing with them.

And the crisis is likely to be significantly worse because many families keep quiet, fearing they would be unable to place a loved one in another home.

Patricia Bunn's six-year residency was terminated without warning after the 88-year-old was found slouched in a chair with blood dripping from her mouth.

Her daughter Debbie also noticed a bruise on her head, but the home said the injuries were unrelated.

The family complained and seven weeks after her eviction Ms Bunn died.

Debbie said: "Mum had late-stage dementia and was unable to walk, talk or feed herself. She was taken away from the carers who knew and understood her and everything that was familiar to her."

The spiteful use of short-notice evictions comes as Britain battles with a deepening care crisis.

There are now thought to be 1.4 million older people with unmet social care needs and the long-awaited Social Care Green Paper – a 2017 Tory manifesto pledge – remains unpublished.

Miss Connery wants the social care document to include proposals like mandatory CCTV safety monitoring in communal areas of care homes and, with consent, in private rooms.

Alzheimer's Society wants to see an NHS dementia fund to stop families facing financial ruin as they struggle with crippling care costs.

There have been calls for tax rises to plug a funding black hole which will be £3.5billion by 2025.

Andrew Geach, the chief executive of Shedfield Lodge care home in Hampshire, said: "The majority of care homes would not do this, but I know eviction notices are being served unwarranted.

"Some families are too scared to complain because they are worried they will be served with a 28-day eviction notice."

Age UK's Caroline Abrahams said: "The Government must urgently set out plans to strengthen consumer protections for residents."

And Debbie Westhead of the Care Quality Commission said: "Care homes are people's homes and those living there should feel supported to live a full and happy life."

The Department of Health and Social Care said: "People in care homes and their families rightly expect the highest standards of care and it is completely unacceptable for anyone to be forced to leave unfairly.

"The Competition and Markets Authority published guidance to help care homes understand and comply with their responsibilities and will crack down on unfair practices where necessary."

CASE STUDY

Dementia stricken Sylvia Wood, 94, was evicted after her family complained about her care home.

Sylvia moved to Fieldhead Park, Mirfield, West Yorks, following an Alzheimer's diagnosis in 2013.

But in January last year her daughter Pam Catmull, 59, received a letter saying her mother must leave in 28 days.

There is no suggestion the care home was using the eviction to avoid addressing the family's concerns or had failed in its care for her.

But Pam, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, who has chronic myeloid leukaemia, said she was in floods of uncontrollable tears when she first read the letter.

Image

It said: "As you are aware, we have had concerns with Sylvia's behaviour and her non-compliance to care for some time now."

Upset Pam said: "Mum had two or three falls and I think those gave her a brain injury.

"I believe mum was probably a little bit upset, but it was their approach and I think it was down to lack of training.

"I wasn't complaining in a nasty way, I was just concerned about her personal care."

Sylvia is now in Croft House Care Home in Gawthorpe.

Fieldhead Park is run by Roche Healthcare Ltd and rated good by the Care Quality Commission. Regional manager Maria Kelly said: "Whenever anyone comes into a home or leaves a home we always involve professionals.

"It would never be a decision we make on our own."

Pam added: "Ninety per cent of the staff there were lovely.

"But I think it was probably the best thing that could have happened because we haven't had any problems since."

Comment by Jayne Connery


I was pleased to note this week that private housing tenants with private landlords will be better protected by impending legislation to outlaw short-term evictions.

Tenants raising concerns over living standards or the quality of accommodation can no longer just be handed a notice to leave.

I am therefore calling for care home residents to have exactly the same protections.

Currently, a complaint about care or accommodation can result in an eviction notice from a care provider who, rather than making an effort to address a legitimate shortcoming, finds it easier to insist on the removal of a resident.

Many of these elderly people are self-funding and effectively have, in part, a rental agreement with the provider enabling them to live at the care home.

Yet no legal protections exist for them when notice is issued – at a time in life when they are at their most vulnerable and frail.

The frequency of such malign and morally bankrupt behaviour by some care providers is escalating.

Every single week I receive complaints from agitated and anxious families who have loved ones in care homes and they often tell me this is the course of action being taken.

In many cases, the resident doesn't have the capacity to complain themselves so the initial concerns are raised by an advocate or family member.

The response to issue a notice to leave then impacts on a confused and vulnerable resident whose welfare is simply not considered during the process.

While Care Campaign for the Vulnerable accepts that the vast majority of care providers act responsibly, there are still too many who use eviction notices as a tool to suppress complaints or address concerns.

Private housing tenants are now being afforded the same rights and privileges under law as other tenants - care home residents deserve the same.

Anything less smacks of ageism and a complete lack of regard for the welfare of older, vulnerable people.

• Jayne Connery is the founder and Director of Care Campaign for the Vulnerable.
I have met many people who have complained and then been threatened with eviction.
One of M's care providers decided that I should not go into his shared supported living house, so I wouldn't find out what was going on. He left soon afterwards, but is adamant that he doesn't want to share with anyone ever again.
Another service made complaints against me, and I was subject to a Safeguarding investigation, when I refused to pay for hopelessly inaccurate invoices, over £1000!
I was largely responsible for a care contract being taken away from another service.
I know two other parents whose child had serious learning and behavioural difficulties, both were in residential care. Each one was left permanently traumatised. In each case the homes were closed down, but the damage was done.
I know someone else whose brother was financially abused by a Mencap home (!) to the tune of £60,000 - he was then threatened with eviction because his sister was seen as a "troublemaker".

I know that there is a move away from state managed care homes, but there at least there was accountability. "Outsourcing" means that there is very little accountability, and if you are on Direct Payments or Self Funding, the council is even more reluctant to get involve, and liable to "forget" that they still have Safeguarding responsibilities.
We too have had, and are having, problems with my Asbergers relative being 'evicted' as short notice. Usually the Home/placement says they can no longer manage his needs. His needs haven't changed.
Most recently the Manager took against him and had him sectioned. But the psychiatrist say he doesn't have a mental problem, he's on no medication or treatment but the so called specialist autism Home manager refuses to have him back. He has now been (voluntarily) in a high security assessment ward while nobody other than family tries to find him another placement. Each time we find one, they talk to his previous home and suddenly the offer is withdrawn. He is effectively homeless and evicted and now the NHS has served hom notice to go, but with nowhere to go to.

We think all this happens because they know he has a supportive family, including one in Government, who aren't afraid to insist he gets the care he deserves.
Mrs. A, I would suggest making a subject access request to find out what the home have on record about him and what they have been saying. I smell a rat!
68 posts