It's time for the care sector to start thinking 'technology' smart. Not just for the protection and safeguarding of our most vulnerable but for the professionals who value their reputation as good, conscientious led Care Providers. Our most vulnerable and their carers deserve no lessJayne Connery
The Road is Long
It is generally considered that, prior to hauling someone over the coals,one should, first, give the good news! The good news is my Mother who lives with Alzheimers is living in her fourth care home in 6 years and now thriving. The road has been long but with the help of those close to me and the endless support from Care Campaign For The Vulnerable we ‘got there’ and I am forever thankful.
Over the course of 20 plus years, I have witnessed the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Safety monitoring I always knew would have addressed /highlighted most or all my concerns, if installed in communal areas.
While my focus, as an entertainer, has generally been on the Power of Music, particularly for those living with dementia, my interest widened when my own Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I was forced to look for a care home.
Having visited many care homes over the years, in my work, I chose a care home that provided an excellent Manager and Activities Coordinator. My Mother sang in her youth and music was always a huge part of her life, so that aspect was particularly important.
Unfortunately, the AC was forced to quit the job due to illness. The Manager left and things went downhill from there. I visited regularly, practically every day, and noticed my Mother was extremely poorly one evening. I insisted on calling paramedics and she was rushed to hospital. Fortunately, she survived. She returned to the home and, within 2 days,she had been given another resident’s medication and suffered a fall, together with a myriad of other concerns. She was admitted to hospital again following a string of UTIs. It was suggested that it was not in her best interest to return to that home and a new home, very close to me, was found. Things began well but, unfortunately, Social Services visited and recommended I move my Mother again. The CQC were called in and many problems were uncovered.
The third home, in, Kent, started well. I was met by a lovely Assistant Manager. The home was clean and the staff seemed friendly. It was still close to me and meant that I could visit every day if I wished. It transpired that I needed to. I was aware, initially, of the lack ofactivities but I knew I could cover that aspect. Further, my Mother would have to travel to her 1st floor bedroom, the only room available, by stair lift. I wasn’t happy about this and asked if she could be moved to a ground floor room when one became available. I asked about this possibility, from time to time, but I was always told that “she had settled into using the stair lift”. This was also stated in her care plan.
''The food was insufficent and I always had to bring in proper nutrious food for mum''
Shortly after my Mother moved into this care home however, the Assistant Manager resigned and the Manager left some time after. The owner took charge of management which I feel was a mistake. The food provided was of poor quality and I felt forced to take supper in, daily, for my Mother, so she had some proper nutrition. I considered packet soup and jam sandwiches wouldn’t quite suffice. Even lunch might consist of pasta with a spoon of tinned tomatoes and half a tinned hot dog. It was not good enough.
Joy's Mum is doing really well in her new care home Joy told Care Campaign 'Carers are trained well and the home is really great - giving mum more person centred care.''
Some of the carers shouted at the residents and appeared to have little or no training in dementia, together with a lack of training in other areas too. During a discussion about activities one Senior Carer stated “this lot are too far gone”. The same Carer stated, shortly before it was decided that my Mother should be moved elsewhere, that I was a “f****** nuisance” for asking for help to stand my Mother, so she could get some exercise.
I had been informed by staff that my Mother’s mobility was poor. She was always wheelchaired everywhere, so no surprises there. When she suffered a second heart attack, the owners of this home did not arrange for the recommended OT or Physio to visit. The local GP suggested “we just forget about it”. Despite being told about my Mother’s lack of mobility, however, a member of staff informed me that she had ‘gone missing’ from the toilet and found by the fire escape. This brought into question her safety, as her room was at the top of the stairs and there was no gate or barrier. I was told this was an isolated incident!
Following this, I stayed late one evening and spoke with the night shift carers. I was interested to learn if my Mother often ‘got up’ unaided. I was told that she did. I was also told that she had most certainly NOT settled into using the stair lift. When I approached the owner about this, it was denied. I was informed that one of the residents (affected by dementia), since passed, used to scream all the way up and down in the stair lift, as if that should console me?!
I filmed my Mother in the stair lift, with the permission of the carers. They made suggestions and took over some of the recording. It was quite clear my Mother was uncomfortable with it. The myriad of physical ailments would have also played a part in her discomfort.
There followed a ‘Best Interests’ Meeting. Essex Social Services did not want to pay for my Mother to move to a Ground Floor Room and I could not use her money to pay the top up. The owner did not support my Mother. The GP - who arrived with a flu jab (despite my Mother’s records and care plan stating an allergy) - appeared to have little or no interest or knowledge of dementia and how the daily use of stair lift might affect my Mother. I was forced to engage a Solicitor and a private OT to confirm my Mother’s ‘need’ to move to a Ground Floor Room. This was carried out,but shortly after more problems arose -too many to list It was decided, last July, that my Mother be moved to another home. It is further away from me, but I had confidence that I would no longer need to visit every day. I was correct. The new home is, thankfully, excellent and my Mother hasn’t looked so well in a long time.
"The evidence from Providers who have installed CCTV seems to me to merit careful attention and to be quite persuasive"
Just some of the Care Providers who support our CCTV Safety Monitoring in Care Homes
Download their 'Safety Monitoring In Communal Areas in Care Homes' document
British Actress Aimi Macdonald is Care Campaign for the Vulnerable Ambassador - raising public awareness for better, safer, transparent care within the care sector.
I am delighted to be invited as a Ambassador to assist in this wonderful campaign instigated by Jayne Connery regarding CCTV security in care homes throughout the UK. This, I feel, will benefit carers, staff, residents and their families in the event of any dispute. As a relative of someone suffering with Alzheimers disease I have been involved with care homes over the last ten years and I feel the knowledge I have can contribute to this very important initiative
Chiltern and South Bucks District Council SAFE PLACE SCHEME has called on Care Campaign for the Vulnerable to add our support to the initiative for those who are vulnerable in the community to get help if out and about and feeling scared , lost or confused.Read more
It's time for the care sector to start thinking 'technology' smart. Not just for the protection and safeguarding of our most vulnerable but for the professionals who value their reputation as good, conscientious led Care Providers. Our most vulnerable and their carers deserve no lessJayne Connery, Founder Care Campaign for the Vulnerable
Read articles from the press regarding our campaignView our press coverage
View our supporters