Hi all. Both my mum and dad passed away recently. I’m not looking for sympathy with this post, but I do want to highlight an awareness of issues that most people simply don’t know about.
Campaign for CCTV in Care
One man, who has a relative who suffered abuse in care, has taken it further, especially for nursing/care homes, has begun a campaign to call for CCTV in care, to ensure levels of care become consistent and monitored for progress and safety. I’ve followed his progress over the last year or two, and it deserves some awareness.
Tony Stowell and his campaign started small and has grown in popularity with celebrity backing, to try and stop abuse in care. He campaigns for care in care/nursing homes, but it’s all the same thing, as carers recycle, going from job to job, care home to care home, house to house. The pool just rotates, it’s easy to get a job and standards of training/personnel are often poor.
Tony was nominated for a Pride of Britain Award for his work over the last few years, and has already won a Heroes award.
Keep up with his campaign on:
Why Am I Sharing This?
Mum lived with me until she passed away, and my father was in a nursing home nearly 100 miles away. It’s been interesting navigating social work, care agencies, the NHS and their care needs. I wouldn’t say interesting in a good way, as there have been many battles during my mothers care, for us to protect her dignity and give her person centred care. There are some amazing carers, there really are, but there are also, what seems to be, so many very much abusive and bad/lazy ones. Tony’s campaign, and the sheer amount of stories and experiences shared with his campaign, show that abusive care takes many forms, both physical and mental.
My mum has had carers in my house as she’s lived with me for a fairly long time now.. Our experience of those has been mixed. There are good and bad carers, but most are just desperate to get onto the next client.
Sadly, at the beginning of problems, I only had a baby monitor type camera, that allowed viewing only, which served no use for the first complaints I made, before we ditched one agency. After a catastrophic stroke, she had a package of new carers coming in to help. The training of ‘professional carers in the community,’ is inadequate. I know because I put two people on a carer course to find out for myself. After a fraught couple of weeks, a new carer came, who was amazing. Absolutely fabulous, and kept the other carers in check, so life tootled along until she moved on a year later, when the quality of care dropped.
I’m not going to go into everything, but I started watching the carers, and changed the camera to one that records due to not being believed previously. What I watched on that camera will haunt me, to see what was happening to my mum, in my own home. Social work backed up the carers and the agency, who told us we had to back off and let the carers get on with it, and eventually the agency pulled all care. No help at all for months, and social work believed the agency and carers.
Finally, I let a visiting OT see them. She immediately went back and said the care was unacceptable, and as a senior OT, they believed her. The agency did come to view the videos and took action.
Several carers told me how much they loved looking after mum, said she was a delight, and strangely one even rubbed noses with mum, saying what great friends they were. That’s the one a coffee shop complained about, saying she ignored mum for the whole time they were there. In essence, carers can look/sound ok to us and their employers, but behind closed doors, alone with our loved ones, the treatment can be different, and I suspect many poor carers don’t even know they are poor carers.
And yet, sadly, I have to say, that what happened to my mum, is mild in comparison to what’s happening to very many people, especially those with dementia, up and down the length and breadth of our country. Why? Pretty much because few people really want to know in our society. Busy people prefer to think care is good and all abuse is visible. They accept bruises and cuts as ‘normal,’ in an ageing population, because the alternative will affect their lives, so think care is a lovely little perfect bubble, and that care is good because the carers say it is
Remember, that many carers and care homes will argue with cameras being in place, telling us it is illegal, and it really is not. I never had a good carer complain about the cameras, and thought it would deter poor carers. If they argue with you, they will also say that cameras take away the dignity of the person being cared for, when the truth is that a camera helps protect the dignity. If someone is advanced enough to need extensive care, and requires total strangers stripping and washing them daily, which feels like a violation to them, their personal dignity is already gone, and the camera is only there to ensure care is done with dignity. I would now never put a relative into a home that doesn’t allow a camera. Of course there will be families that use cameras to make silly accusations, but that same footage will also protect those carers.
Back cameras. We are on CCTV everywhere we go, in shops, hospitals, schools, even just walking down the street, so why not in the care workplace too?