Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Social care: Your comments

Elderly people

Eight local authorities in England have been told they must urgently improve their social care services for adults.

The Care Quality Commission found overall improvement, with 95% of councils in the top two categories. But its annual report rated one in four care homes for the elderly as being adequate at best and found large variations in areas and providers.

BBC News website readers have been sending us their views on social care.

COMMENTS FROM AREAS THAT WILL GET EXTRA SUPPORT

I thought life would get easier for me after my elderly father went into a care home. However I feel my father would not be alive now but for my constant interventions over the past two years. My father is paying for his care yet we were the last to be told his care home had failed its inspection.
Raye Francis, Peterborough

My father is currently living in a care home in Bromley, one of the boroughs which has been earmarked to receive extra support. Although we have no complaints with the care he receives in itself, the carers are poorly paid and often seem to be over-stretched. Few of them seem to speak English as a first language which can cause problems in an area where many of the residents are hard of hearing. Moreover, we have noticed that some of them seem to lack the training or leadership skills to deal with unusual situations.
Lucy, Orpington, Bromley

As both a service user and a trustee of a charity delivering home care services to adults I am concerned in the 'drop' in place of my borough to attaining merely "adequate" levels of provision (not least when our own rating from the CQC is "Excellent"). What concerns me most is that while the standard of service has dropped, a large number of people in need of some support are now excluded and, in some cases, despite a deteriorating condition the amount of help received is being cut to those most in need. Secondly, despite the budgetary constraints, money is still being spent on appointing more middle to high-level managers at goodness knows what salaries and with little evidence of value for money.
Anon, Southwark, London

I have been reprimanded because I gave too much care

I recently handed in my notice in a nursing home because I could not fulfil all the statutory requirements as well as give good sensitive personal care. I am a fast and competent worker yet my conscience could not let me continue, not because of the pressure but because of the conflicts carers have to face which can and does lead to neglect. This includes all aspects of care from the laundry to nutrition. In fact I have been reprimanded because I gave too much care. More vigorous statuary control does not necessarily ensure better care, good personal morale does. When will the authorities and the government learn that these services must be supported by humanitarian concern.
Philip Hills, Cornwall

GENERAL COMMENTS

Elderly patient being helped by a health carer
"We need support in making the right decisions"

My father is 85 and has vascular dementia. He has his own house and savings so sorting out care is awful. Social services do not want to know and rarely bother to get back to you. It's not just a question of paying, we expected that. We need support in helping to make the right decisions about what kind of care and what kind of home. Why don't the authorities listen to the families and carers
Lindsey Grinstead, Bedfordshire

My mother is in a care home. She is 85 and in the late stages of a dementia-based illness with other severe health problems. She is being excluded from NHS Continuing Healthcare. I have had to sell the family home to help pay for her fees. It seems that the only way my mother will be excluded from paying fees is to die. The system is a tragic mess.
Geoff Rimmer, Wirral, Merseyside

My grandmother is in a care home, she is 100 next year. My mother looked after her for seven years prior to her going into the home. The care she receives is reasonable but the laundry system they have has meant that they regularly lose her clothes and my mother is constantly replacing them. Each patients name has to be sewn into their garments by their relatives so there really is no excuse. These institutions must be rated so that they are forced to improve and drive out those failings institutions. I doubt many of us younger able-bodied people would want to put up with it.
Zosha West, London

My mother in law had Alzheimer's, and she received excellent care at home for over nine years. She had carers call twice a day to help with all her personal care. She lived next door to us and I provided the rest of her care ie meals, washing etc. I found East Sussex Social Services were always helpful, and provided everything we needed as far as equipment and advice was concerned. We had no complaints at all, we were just very grateful.
Rosemary Ware, Heathfield, East Sussex

Her quality of life increased after she was moved into a home

My mother moved into a nursing home in May 2009 from hospital, as it was clear she would not be able to manage a return to her own home. Her quality of life has increased as a result; she is less isolated, she is in control of what care she receives and at what times, and is eating better than she has done for years. But it is entirely at her own expense due to the prospective proceeds of selling her one bed flat.
Roy Gregory, Westbury Wiltshire

CARE WORKERS

Care worker and elderly woman
"I tried to give people the same care I would have wanted"

I worked in a elderly ward in the hospital and in a private care home and have had to leave the caring industry because I witnessed abuse and too many nurses who lacked a caring attitude to patients. I believed that people went into this industry to care for people, however when I worked there I found it was not the case and felt very disheartened. I used to sit with patients and listen to their stories. I tried to give them the same care I would have wished to have. I do not look forward to the day I have to be in that position.
Louella , Lincolnshire

I worked in the care field for many years. I would say that care workers are so badly paid, especially in the field of elderly care, it is hard to recruit candidates for positions. Therefore positions are advertised often as "no experience needed". This means many people who end up in this work, in truth, have neither the aptitude or desire to look after others. The people doing the jobs are overworked and overall, the standards of care in UK are failing badly.
Abby Morgan, Barcelona, Spain

While I totally accept that there are some authorities who could be doing a lot better, all authorities are expected to keep up with a constant shifting of goal posts. I recently finished working in one authority which spent two years working relentlessly to meet new targets set by a CQC report. All resources were geared towards this, the outcome was an improvement on paper but, in reality, left a bewildered and exhausted work force. This government is obsessed with quantitative measures which have no correlation to real outcomes for people.
Anon, London

Insufficient funding sends the message that the elderly do not count

I work in an excellent rated care home with nursing. It isn't just bad culture in homes, the problem starts with the lack of proper government funding. Insufficient funding sends the message that the elderly do not count. They do not always have choice over a care home. Some councils send people to the cheapest home even when it is a long way from their relatives. We have people sent elsewhere because they won't pay a fair fee. Our numbers go down because we have high standards as far as funded clients go. We do a great job, there is always room to improve but how long can we go on doing this when funding is not in place for poorer regions that rely on funded admissions?
Anon nursing home worker



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