This was an isolated incident-Forest Healthcare comments

April 24, 2012 | By | 9 Replies More

“We are pleased justice has been done in the case of the male former carer and that the prompt actions taken by the home have been validated by the Court’s decision.  This matter caused great distress to residents and staff alike.  We apologised both verbally and in writing to the family as soon as the incident came to light.

“This was an isolated incident, as demonstrated by thorough investigations by the police, London Borough of Camden and the Care Quality Commission alike, and it is an important reminder that an individual who has been provided with all the appropriate training may still commit a criminal act even in the most professionally run and highly regulated environment.

“When the male carer was arrested the four female carers were also immediately suspended.  We made several requests to the family to view the footage in order to complete the disciplinary process, which they agreed to in November 2011.  Immediately subsequent to that we completed proceedings and all four were dismissed.  From the time the allegations were made until their dismissal these individuals did not work again for the company.

“The wider staff team at Ash Court have provided many years of excellent care and were shocked by the truly unacceptable behaviour of these individuals.  It is important to note that every member of staff at Ash Court receives comprehensive training, including Moving and Handling and Communications training and this was also the case for the individuals identified in the footage, which makes their actions doubly distressing.  It is also important to note that the family had not raised concerns with the home manager prior to showing her the video footage on 22nd June 2011.

“Ash Court is committed to working closely with all families and residents and we continue to receive positive support and feedback on the quality of care we provide, which is subject to a process of continual improvement.  We remain grateful for the vigilance of our dedicated staff and the professional scrutiny from the Care Quality Commission and London Borough of Camden.”

A further update to this statement will be released shortly

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Category: Alzheimer's Care, Care Home News, Care Industry News, Dementia Care, Elderly care

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Comments (9)

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  1. Annon says:

    Does anyone have any research evidence that funding or alleged under funding has anything to do with abuse of vulerable service users? If so i would be very interested in exposing it as wrong.

  2. colette says:

    Call me cynical but isn’t this just the classic outcome? Something goes wrong, heads roll and that’s the last you hear about it until the next case!

    Like other industries and sectors, mistakes do happen. Come on though, are we really saying due to the meagre funding abuse is to expected because you get what you pay for? That’s a load of rubbish! If I make a mistake I hold my hands up, if I’m lucky I don’t lose my client and I learn my lesson. I’m accountable, every step of the way I answer for my work, my business and the outcomes. Are we saying care homes don’t have to do this? Quality shouldn’t come at a price. I deliver the same standards of service regardless of the budget. Ah well just so long as the money is still rolling in there’s nothing to worry about is there? Just keep your eye on the balance sheet and make sure your profits don’t slide. It’s about working smarter, everyone else has to do it.

  3. Astonished at Mary says:

    Mary Anson – “Don’t criticise till you’ve walked in a care manager/provider’s shoes” WTF?

    There are plenty of people doing this job without abusing people!

    If you cannot provide a service to an acceptable standard for the money being offered by the LA, then the time to look long and hard at your business has come.

    The LA can offer what they like, even knowing that it’s not enough to allow a care provider to provide good care. Why? because there will always be someone willing to take it on.

    It looks like you are savvy enough to recognise that the current levels of funding are not enough, but are you savvy enough to turn this business down? Frankly, it sounds as if you expect some levels of abuse in your care homes, and guess what it’s not the fault of the LA and they will not find themselves in court if your staff abuse one of your residents.

    I’m desperately hoping that your response is just poorly worded, surely you could not intent for it to read the way it does?

    • Mary Anson says:

      I can’t believe you are all so unaware of the costs of running a care home, and I am disapointed that people can make such negative personal comments without even the courtesy of a proper name by which I could reply, but hide behind ‘anon’ and ‘astonished at Mary’. If you would like to see more then perhaps you could look at my comment on Linked In. I’d like to know how you pay staff to come to work without the resources to pay them. Do you work for nothing? Do they work for nothing, or for only half pay? Or does the work magically happen without enough staff? How many staff hours do you employ per client to care for them? How do you/they eat if they aren’t paid? Of course money counts. And the lack of it leads to lack of care – which is abuse in my book, if not in yours, even if it is not as violent and horrific as we saw on the Panorama programme.

      And you are quite wrong when you suggest councils can offer what they like.

      They can only do so by ignoring their own legal obligations – see LAC2004(20) Guidance on: National Assistance Act 1948 (Choice of Accommodation Directions 1992) National Assistance (Residential Accommodation) (Additional Payments and Assessment of Resources) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2001.

      Clause 2.5.4 of this circular says, “In setting and reviewing their usual costs, councils should have due regard to the actual costs of providing care and other local factors.”

      2.5.7 says: “Councils should not set arbitrary ceilings on the amount they expect to pay for an individual’s residential care. Residents and third parties should not routinely be required to make up the difference between what the council will pay and the actual fees of a home. Councils have a statutory duty to provide residents with the level of service they could expect if the possibility of resident and third party contributions did not exist”

      3.3 says: “When setting its usual cost(s) a council should be able to demonstrate that this cost is sufficient to allow it to meet assessed care needs and to provide residents with the level of care services that they could reasonably expect to receive if the possibility of resident and third party contributions did not exist”

      I would appreciate it if you could tell me exactly where I have suggested I expect abuse in my homes , and if you read my earlier comments properly then I am sure you will realise that is quite definitely not what I said, and apologise. I am excessively proud of what we achieve in my home and willing to extend an invitation to any of you to visit – unannounced if you like! Further, I do not accept local authority funding; if you read my earlier comment again you will see that I was speaking generically and not personally. Your comments about my ‘savvy’ are offensive, and misplaced.

      I am concerned about the financial abuse perpetrated by the state which expects care homes and agencies to meet the standards by charging extra to vulnerable, privately funded clients in order to cross subsidise the shortfall in state funding. I consider this to be institutional financial abuse, perpetrated by those who rely on this in order to keep the council taxes low. It is a form of unregulated and unmonitored taxation of people entering the care system who have a house to sell, and at a time when they are at their most vulnerable, and I hope you can see this; if not you are as guilty as they are.

      At least in my home I tell families that because I ask for a third party top up from state funded clients that the care they pay for will be their own, and that they are not paying extra for the person in the next room. Sadly, that means that those without families to contribute are not able to choose my home. But at people visiting my home know and understand what their charges are paying for; there is nothing hidden. The charges are fair and transparent, and equal for all according to need, regardless of who is paying the bills.

      Perhaps you guys would be quite happy that when you go into the supermarket the welfare claimant in the checkout queue ahead of you is allowed to pay only 75% of the cost of their goods, and to have the missing 25% added onto your bill and without specifically telling you? By my book that would be a form of financial abuse. Any ‘gift’ you make should be at your discretion, not enforced by the state (or supermarket).

      That is exactly how care is funded in this country. The full cost of the welfare claimants goods are not paid for by the state but by cross charging to someone else. The provider has to either: cross subsidies (expected); charge a third party (what i have to do); or by seriously underfunding something essential for quality care, such as the staff budget. The state does not expect the claimant in the supermarket to to eat fillet steak every night while only giving them enough money for mince. But they do in care. That is the tangled legislative mess that care in this country is in.

      My last sentence in the earlier comment was a plea that we should all work together if proper care is what we believe in – and all I got was criticism and – yes – abuse!

      • Astonished at Mary says:

        My reply and I am sure that of others was not meant to be in any way abusive. The reason being that this entire discussion is about whether it was an ’isolated incident’ or does this company and possibly other care operators have a problem?

        But in response to your comments Mary the reason I haven’t named myself is to protect my business and colleagues nothing more. These are my opinions but I am sure they are shared by many others.Care operators in general are so busy delivering care and negotiating terms that they are very often blind to what is going on under their noses. These days you have to be commercially savvy.

        I respectfully ask; do you use an IFA to get self-funding resident’s appropriate advice so that they are able to afford your fees without the need for top up fees. This would protect your income stream and I am sure would be a USP for your company. You would be seen to be protecting the assets of your residents.

        What is your occupancy rate? If it’s low, how do you your market your homes?

        When did you last check the prices from your suppliers against their competitors? Insurance, energy, food etc.,

        You have been very open and you clearly feel in a tight spot and maybe you are? Lots of businesses are cash poor but asset rich.

        I can see your argument but LA’s are not going to increase the amounts they pay to place a resident. Care homes owners must understand the economics of supply and demand. LA’s are supplying lots of residents at a certain rate, and there is a lot of demand from the care homes to take these residents. While that remains the case there will be no positive change in the fees offered. Can you or indeed any operator afford to turn residents away. If all operators said no……..

        The time has come for the industry to stand firm and say no more to the LA’s. Or make a bigger effort to snatch more of the self funding residents from the bigger savvy groups who only target self funding residents.

        This can only happen if you look at how you get your residents. You are right Mary the whole industry should work together to delivera good or more than good service.

        Even so, nothing excuses abuse of vulnerable people,

  4. Mary Anson says:

    I disagree with most of your conclusions about the reasons this appalling event happened. There are a variety of possible reasons for such behaviour which I can suggest:
    One – do not underestimate the power of peer pressure. One powerful rogue staff member causes an element of highly unwelcome collusion from others who are scared to whistle blow. Lack of resouces – and I know, and agree, that it doesn’t cost money to treat people with compassion and human dignity – has a huge amount to do with it.

    I know nothing about the funding arrangement within this home; however, I know a very great deal about the funding arrangement in my area (Cornwall). Cornwall’s ‘usual’ fee up to April was £350 per week (£2.06p per hour, which has to cover all housing, and housing related costs; food, hotel services, personal laundry, clinical waste collection; normal waste collection (no free collection despite council tax payments) replacement of damaged/soiled furnishings, full incontinence linen and personal clothing laundry service, outings, activities, and lots and lots of personal care. This is for often high dependency residential care – lower levels of need should hopefully be supported to stay at home. From April there has been a welcome increase to £2.32 per hour. However, for Dementia, an extra 5p per hour is paid. Perhaps you can tell me how you would manage ‘quality’ on such limited resources? And what extra individual, personal service can be provided to a dementia sufferer who needs even more one to one care, for 5p per hour. How can someone who needs nutritional support for feeding be given this for 5p per hour?

    What would you cut out? Wages? Mortgage? Supervision? Training? Management? Dignity? Don’t criticise till you’ve walked in a care manager/provider’s shoes – PLEASE. Because all you do is build up fear amongst the older people and public we strive to support. Lobby for more resources THEN shout for better regulation and inspection. Don’t ask for the Ritz while only paying for a Bed and Breakfast. You put the whole system back years by endless criticism of provider integrity. We don’t all come to work to do a bad job and make people’s lives a misery. Rogue situations may have entirely different causes from what you think. And don’t assume because some private clients pay more that this is profiteering by providers – these clients are having to subsidise the shortfall in state funding. No private clients? No families to pay a ‘third party top up’? Then the home cannot do a quality job or recruit and train quality staff. Most homes would go bust if totally dependent on state funded clients. Then who would care for our parents and grandparents? This will be YOU and ME one day. Let’s work together to get proper funding – if proper care is what we believe in!

    • Editor says:

      Hi Mary

      The article on the site is a press release from the care operators Forest Healthcare and isn’t one that I’ve written. If you are referring to the various discussions on LinkedIn I don’t believe and neither have I seen anything other than a refusal to accept that it was an isolated incident. Simply because it’s impossible to believe that the people involved miraculously changed into decent people when they left this particular resident’s room?

      I completely agree and have been particularly vocal about the importance of care workers and I have also said many, many times that the pay does not in any way reflect the hard work or empathy required to do a job that can be depressing and soul destroying (it can also be rewarding)-I speak from experience, I worked for Kirklees Social Services as a weekend carer when my children were tiny. What do you pay your care staff?

      I and many of the people who’ve commented on this particular incident are advocates of good training, Health & safety, dignity in care, end of life care, safeguarding and so on.

      I’m afraid that if any care operator is unable to provide care with state funding that gives them £20K per week and this doesn’t include nursing care, then they simply shouldn’t be operating?

      Campaigning for an increase in funding and the obvious problems that will occur if this doesn’t happen, cannot in anyway reliquish any operator in the care industry from responsibility for any abuse that happens in their care home, ever.

  5. This incident possibly occurs daily in the Uk because of the number of factors involved.
    Low pay, poor training, little real and effective supervision, low visibility management, push on profit versus quality, little investment in the estate, over tired staff, poor culture around safeguarding, etc etc…
    The point was no home gets like this overnight a culture prevails where in this case lone working by male staff occurred, staff talking over patients, rapid feeding and lack of communication in general, I am sad to say this is unlikely in my opinion to be islolated…

    • Ebony Boulton says:

      Cathe I couldn’t agree more!! It’s a shame that while the media has focused on one service that thousands more go unnoticed. Whilst they continue to focus so heavily on one service; as they did a few years ago in Calderdale as the result of yet another program by the BBC,the other services in that area did not get CQC or council support through this time,and such appauling abuse sadly continued. I fear that this will be the case across the UK until the powers that be take a good look at the bigher picture as you describe above.

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