Evidence uncovered by the EHRC home care inquiry is shameful

The news that older people are being stolen from, left  hungry and  dirty by local authority funded  care workers  responsible for looking after them is truly shocking and a sad indictment of how our supposedly humane society allows older people to be treated.

The findings in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into home care   show that in too many cases support  provided to many older people in their own homes fails to uphold  the basic rights enshrined in law that most of us would expect as a moral obligation.

The report reveals not only extreme abuse but  a  pattern of lower level insidious  and uncaring  ill treatment. Examples include carers talking on their mobiles  while working , treating those they care for as invisible or leaving someone sitting on a toilet. A disrespectful approach  undermines the  dignity and self- worth  of people  who  often find it difficult to complain or are afraid to do so out of fear of reprisals , enabling the abuse and neglect to continue unabated.

How is this allowed to happen? Funding is part of the answer – local authority spending cuts have led to many councils cutting back on spending on care and support for older people. In some areas this will mean that care packages will be cut, leaving older people to struggle on alone with  only the most disabled receiving  any care support. In others, a less than generous care package will have been further cut back meaning that older people will be visited fleetingly with,without doubt, visits from home carers which are  too short to enable proper care let alone any of the social interaction so important for us all, and so needed by those already isolated.

Low wages and status for care workers does not help in creating a motivated and professional workforce and training should be urgently addressed. WE must place the needs and humanity of those needing care at the centre of our thinking, not treat them merely as the subjects of a list of tasks to be completed. And we need to let those who hold the budgets that we want sufficient funding to allow care reflect the respect and dignity that should be accorded to older people.

Horrifying as today’s report is – we hope that it will be read and reflected on by those who have the power to change the situation.

Age UK believes   it is incumbent on  every local authority and care provider to pay much more attention to the basic human rights of the people who rely on them for care .That means  setting budgets which allow  proper support  and  carefully  monitoring  contracts with  home care providers to ensure  they are working properly. A number of recent court cases have upheld this view, forcing local authorities to  reconsider their budgets and planned  cuts to care services. National government must acknowledge that it has a role to play in ensuring that sufficient funds reach the frontline of care provision and ensuring a sustainable future for social care in this country.

We as a nation must decide whether as a society we are prepared to let older people – and that will include each one of us one day – to be treated in this way. If we are sickened and appalled by what this report has uncovered then we need to let our leaders know that we want change.

Find out more about our Care in Crisis campaign

Author: Michelle Mitchell

Charity Director, Age UK

3 thoughts on “Evidence uncovered by the EHRC home care inquiry is shameful”

  1. All that which is in the News currently – is comonn knowledge in the Care Industry, Home Carers and Carers and has been the case for many Years. The “shock” that has been on the air waves is hypocritical by those making these statements. The Care of the Elderly in this Country borders on the Criminal – and the blame lies squarely with Councils and the Government – who been aware of this for decades but have done very little to rectify the situation. At last Human Rights Commsion have stepped in as the other Bodies Responsible have done absolutely nothing – and will no doubt continue so to do.

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