Difficulties facing the current care system
For many years now, “Care” for these vulnerable people has been privatised. It has become a “private enterprise” and it must be remembered that, (quite legitimately), the principal objective of “business” is to make money.
The greatest expense in “Care” is staffing costs and these have been retained at or below the level of the basic minimum wage, by actively recruiting care staff from abroad. Whilst the input from other cultures is a positive thing, the effect this has had on wage levels has been noted by Unions across many fields of employment in the UK.
To care for another person is one of the most significant and precious experiences in life, and the importance of good care being provided by sincere, well-trained and caring carers must never come a poor second to personal profit!
Carers must be properly trained, genuinely valued, and appropriately remunerated.
Lack of funds also inevitably affect décor and resources available to vulnerable residents, and with many of them unable to voice their grievances, concerns, or even potential abuse, little is done to rectify this.
Many learning-disabled and elderly people are unable to either speak at all, or to stand up for their own rights or needs, and not all have the benefit of a closely involved family or advocate to speak on their behalf. In addition, cut-backs with Social Services mean that many residents no longer have a designated social worker to monitor their care, making them ever more vulnerable.
Whilst there is a “monitoring” system (called the Care Quality Commission [CQC]) for residential care, it does have limitations. Inspections are booked, so the care homes can ensure that the inspectors see what they want them to see. Excessive importance is given to checking paperwork, and it should be noted, that in places designated as “independent living”, the inspectors are not actually allowed to enter without a specific invitation from the resident, who may not be able to speak.
Lack of imagination:
Décor tends to be of a type to appeal to mature, non-disabled visitors and inspectors - for example, pictures of stones, plain walls, etc, and how many Care Homes consider “entertainment” for their residents to simply be furniture lined up along a wall facing a flickering television screen? How many clear away every item of decoration or “homeliness” in case a resident may damage or break something?