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June 26, 2011

UK: Home care for elderly judged ‘inadequate’

LONDON, England / Financial Times /  International / Politics & Policy / June 20, 2011
By Helen Warrell

Baroness Sally Greengross, Equality and Human Rights Commissioner

Elderly people who receive care at home are having their basic human rights “overlooked” by being neglected, left alone for long periods and not given adequate help to eat and drink, the Equality and Human Rights Commission said on Monday.
The interim findings – early results from the Commission’s major study into home care – show that people have been left in soiled clothes for long periods, trapped in bed for 17 hours or more between visits, and attended by many different carers because of high staff turnover. One woman documented was seen by 32 different carers in a two-week period.

The research also found that due to the strict time controls on visits, which could last as little as 15 minutes, some elderly patients had to choose between being washed or having a cooked meal. 
Baroness Sally Greengross, Equality and Human Rights Commissioner, told the BBC that services were lapsing because money for care wasn’t being allocated in the right way.

“We need much more money going to care in the community because a lot of the diseases that used to kill us off as acute illness now have become chronic conditions,” she said. “People can live for a long time in need of care but not in need of expensive hospital or residential care if we get it right.”

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