Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Abuse and neglect

Abuse of vulnerable people seems to be the order of the day for news at all levels just now.  Nationally there's the 'Savile stuff', but locally we have Bolton council apologising for the physical abuse of people with learning disabilities in one of their care homes with two 'carers' (not really) jailed for things like restraint by tying towels over people's faces and also near Morcambe, six staff arrests at an elderly care home.

Yet in all these, where is CQC?  They seem to be making comments after the event, mainly saying they were monitoring the situation.  What good is monitoring if it doesn't lead to action to prevent abuse?  Fear of abuse in care is a major terror for parents of people with disabilities.  We're fairly sure our son was treated well, but without our constant vigilance and driving of the agenda, things could so easily have been different.  I have a real fear that without constant vigilance, abuse or neglect can become the default setting - especially when cuts are reducing the level of care input.  Where there is no responsible and transparent leadership, the back room bullies take over.

I don't feel I have confidence in CQC to prevent abuse and neglect, tick boxes aren't the answer.  So the only alternative is for carers and families to police the standards of care, with all the help we can get from staff whistle blowers with a conscience.  Another parent I knew, when asked by Social Services what single thing he could do to ensure his son was well looked after, replied, survive for as long as I can.  I can empathize with that.

Watch for the signs of abuse and neglect - and ask questions when you think you see them.  No one else is going to do it.  It isn't a nice thing and it won't make you popular, but it's better than letting the abuse happen.

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