Last year I wrote about abuse of vulnerable adults in my October blog and yet, despite the outcry that resulted from the failures of care at Mid Staffordshire and the calls for improvements in regulation and standards, I find myself once again commenting on yet another gross betrayal by those who were supposed to protect vulnerable older people. The West Sussex Coroner’s ruling in October 2013 that neglect was a significant factor in the deaths of five older people living in a care home once again highlights not just failures in the current regulatory framework but also the lack of any cohesive regulation of individual care workers.
In her statement regarding Orchid View Care Home in West Sussex the coroner concluded there was ‘institutional abuse’ with serious neglect of residents which was perpetrated from the ‘top down’ with mismanagement and insufficient staff to provide adequate levels of care and where mistakes were covered up. The details of the lack of care show a total disregard for the dignity or fundamental rights of individuals.
Once again there were failures at regulation level with the Care Quality Commission having assessed the home as ‘good’ in 2010 a year prior to closure. One of the most disturbing elements of the case is the lack of reprisal for the staff who were responsible for the neglect and abuse of residents and the fact that many are still working within the sector.
The discussion about regulation of the health and social care workforce has been going on for years and yet we are still no further forward. We have had vocational qualifications in place for the past 15 years and yet continue to ignore how these could be used to register, regulate and maintain workers standards both of practice and professionalism. As Orchid View clearly demonstrates it is not enough to regulate care providers, and even that needs review in light of this case, but there must be a robust system in place to regulate individual workers as well.
There are a number of self assessment tools available for providers to check the quality and standards of the services they provide especially in relation to providing person-centred care.
So what can you do to make sure the care and support you provide is of the best quality, respects the dignity and rights of individuals and protects them from harm and abuse?
Well firstly you can ensure you have the right knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes that enable you to consistently provide high quality personalised care and support to those in your care.
Secondly, you can work with your managers and colleagues to take an honest look at the service being provided and ensure there are processes in place that continually review and assess provision to avoid complacency that can so often lead to institutional practices that can quickly become abusive as they infringe people’s rights and dignity.
Progress for Providers is an excellent resource with an easy to follow self assessment tool as well as links to other resources and supports. There are a number of different Progress for Providers tools aimed at managers, individuals and teams working together to assess and improve their services. They include:
• Using person-centred approaches in practice
• Delivering personalised services
• Delivering personalised support for people with dementia
• Delivering personalised support for people living at home
• Delivering personalised support at end of life
• Preparing for adulthood
You can find out more at: http://progressforproviders.org/
Maintaining standards and confidence in health and social care provision is the responsibility of every single person working in the industry so please don’t leave it to the regulators to make the improvements needed, take action to change today…
Until next time …..