Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Whene'er I Foregather Wi' Sorrow And Care

The recent run of stories and reports about conditions in many UK Care Homes have revealed a number of problems.  Staff who are over stretched, or not trained or simply have little experience of working with people of great age are commonly found.

In the last decade or so there have been managements, again some with little expert knowledge or experience but given targets to meet which have an adverse impact on care and which do not take account of either the practical difficulties or the variation of issues that staff face.

Above all has been effect of the finance management driven ownership and control of an increasing proportion of care homes, compounded by the retreat from this kind of Care system by both local authorities and others.  Even many charities have cut back on provision and facilities.

All this has occurred at a time when not only are the numbers of very aged increasing but the complexity of their conditions and treatments also presents a wider range of problems, notably in the several forms of dementia or other neurological issues.

The answer given by too many prattling politicians is the notion of “Care in the Community” that is to keep people in their own homes, of one sort or another with carers and others coming in to help.  This now is becoming badly over stretched and the real work being done by many people who are even less trained or aware.

This in turn impacts particularly on the National Health Service and with little realized effects on both Ambulance and Police services who both are facing increased demands which are becoming more and more difficult to tackle.

Perhaps we think that this is just a UK problem and we like to imagine that if there is one country with the wealth and organizational abilities to cope with it might be Germany.  Apparently, this is not the case as a report in their Local New shows:

Who are these people who are being treated like this?  One of the sadder parts of the developing tragedy is to imagine who the aged are and what they might have been in the past. 

Sometimes it takes only a look at a photograph on the wall to show that this unpleasant demented old person who cannot cope and who is a trial to deal with and has other severe problems was once lively and smart with both intelligence and ability.

They are often left isolated, put to bed early and got up late, left to develop hydration and nutrition problems on top of the medical issues, are left to deal with confusing and potentially damaging medication needs, with their personal washing never done and living in uncleaned homes.

Yet when you look at the residential alternatives they are little better and maybe worse in terms of personal treatment and respect.  The title is a quote from Robert Burns.

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