Monthly Archives: November 2012

Hillcroft Nursing Home: Care of the vulnerable or torture?

This blog was written over a year ago, on 28th Nov 2013 three care workers were charged and found guilty of abuse.

Just for clarity Amnesty International has outlined the techniques used in ‘torture’, these include isolation, enforced trivial demands, degradation, threats, displays of power (i.e. controlling food and hydration, physical assault).  For some older people in care today, whether in the public or private sector, that is their care, torture.

Headlines informing us  of poor care is not new, see  The Times and  Hillcroft Nursing Home. These are similar   to many other stories of elderly people  in care home/NHS settings receiving poor care, which really means they are being  abused by staff who are not caring for them appropriately.  Am I shocked ……. sadly no.  What I am shocked at is the complacency of this government on this issue.

Its not good enough to keep using the same old rhetoric, better training (what type and where from?), minimum standards (we have these but meeting them is not regulated), ‘big society'(who? me, you, Dave and Nick??) need to take more responsibility.  We have heard all of this before, and still the abuse continues.

In 2010 the Royal Medical Colleges concluded inadequate hospital care for older people condemed many to death.  In 2011 The Health Service Ombudsman  suggested the NHS was inflicting pain and suffering on older people, and was indifferent to older people.  In 2012 Bingham  suggested the  treatment of older people in care is now so bad in many cases it meets the definition of ‘torture’.  Just for clarity Amnesty International has outlined the techniques used in ‘torture’, these include isolation, enforced trivial demands, degradation, threats, displays of power (i.e. controlling food and hydration, physical assault).  For some older people in care today, whether in the public or private sector, that is their care, torture.

No wonder from a European perspective research suggests older people’s experience of ageing in the UK falls behind that of many of it’s European counterparts (WRVS,2012).

Older people’s experience of ageing in the UK can be improved, and it is all of our responsibility to try and acheive this.  However, we first need a coherent strategy to bring about the change desired by many who work with older people.  Government in the UK tend to address issues associated with an ageing population in individual ‘silos’.  Research from Europe suggests those countries taking a joined up approach where government consider how factors such as income, health, age discrimination and inclusion interact , the more successful policy approaches are likely to be to improve the experience of ageing.  However, any policy needs first to have a strong ethical foundation founded on a clear understanding of, and agreement to, promoting older peoples equality and human rights.

If you want to read more see my article in the Journal of Adult Protection

p.s here is my very first blog written in Feb 2012……and still I’m saying the same things about the same issues, I wonder how those poor residents of Hillcroft Nursing Home feel about the ‘dignity code’ mentioned in that blog?

Lord Justice Munby,David Hewitt, Gary Fitzgerald and Rob Brown….a dream team, thankyou!

When thinking about whom to invite as keynote speaker for the conference my first choice was Lord Justice Munby, so I rang the High Court and the rest is, as they say, history! It was a good choice, I hope you think so too.  The aim of this conference was always to provide front line practitioners and managers with a day to stop and reflect, space to think and time to refresh themselves.  We hope we acheived this. 

The post qualifying team at Bournemouth University had at the forefront of our minds, when organising this event, that this was a day for you, to thank you for all the hard work you do. 

Safeguarding Adults and Mental Capacity are increasingly important, and complex, areas of practice.  As we progress new issues and questions arise, yet within the midst of that complexity we never forget there is a person, someone in need.  Whilst the media rightly exposes the failings of the system it is important for us to also celebrate the little successes you acheive on a daily basis, which are never featured in the media or seen by wider society, but make a difference to someone’s life.

It is right not to be complacent, however, it is also right to be confident, confident that you do make a difference and that you will continue to make a difference in the future.

We would really like to thank all  of the speakers, who gave their time freely, each of whom was very individual but together provided an impressive line up.  Thank you, attendees, for coming along and participating, people came from all over the country (Edinburgh, Hull, Manchester, Ipswich, Cornwall, Devon, London, Dorset etc).  We hope you keep in contact with us via my blog and/or twitter.  We have already had discussions this morning about next year!  Your ideas are welcome!

All the presentations are on our website now so please have a browse.