Posted 5 January 2017
Worrying research from Independent Age has shown that over half of British adults feel that abuse and neglect of elderly people in care homes is commonplace.
Of those who held this view, 15% said their beliefs were shaped through knowing a resident, 5% from working in a care home and 25% from hearing the experiences of others.
Similar research published by the think-tank Demos in 2014 showed that over half of British adults wouldn’t move to a care home for fear of abuse and neglect.
This is all despite 72% of care homes being rated as Good or Outstanding by the CQC and 90% of residents rating their care as satisfactory.
There is of course a bias here; people are more likely to share stories of abuse than high quality care, while the media has an inevitable focus on scandals rather than success stories; ‘good news = no news’
However, of those who had visited a care home in the past year, 45% still held the belief that abuse and neglect were common, showing that the impression fostered by the media is a stubborn aspersion to disprove.
Simon Bottery, director of policy and external relations at Independent Age, said: "It's worrying that so many people say they are basing their opinion on personal experience.
"We're calling for a survey of staff in care homes to better understand the scale of the problem. While we hope and expect that abuse and neglect is less widespread than believed, it is essential we know for sure."
The report recommends a range of reforms to care quality criteria, including that basic measures of safety be used more readily, an example being the incidence of pressure ulcers. 95% of pressure ulcers are preventable and caused by immobility, therefore their prevalence could be a ‘smoking gun’ for poor care quality and neglect.
For care providers, the report recommends that information should be more detailed and accessible to older people and their families, with a greater appreciation of the emotional and time pressures faced by those choosing a care home.