The Private Business of Care Homes
Like it or not, private care homes are now a business. Product - Care. Customer - You, the public. Customers deserve to get value for money when purchasing a product, which should deliver what it says on the label. Not the case for many private care homes. When a family needs to find a care home for a loved one, It is a time when they may be feeling vulnerable themselves, needing support and guidance. They should be able to access honest, reliable, transparent information, in order to make informed choices.
Your Voice Matters are not against business, but what we are not prepared to accept are private care homes who do have the money to invest into their BUSINESS in order to DELIVER what they advertise, choose not to. There are serious consequences to that. Neglect, abuse, malnuitrition, dehydration, even avoidable death.
Why are families subjected to misleading and inaccurate information published by care homes on their web sites and literature? Accurate information is vital for families when trying to make informed choices about the care of a loved one. Your Voice Matters have raised this issue many times. Why will no one challenge and take action against the cover ups happening in the private care home sector and inaccurate advertising? Why is this not covered under a Trade Descriptions Act? It is a business after all. I do not know know the Laws in this area to comment. The self promotion of failing care homes remains unchallenged by Ministers and Regulators, even though we keep raising awareness of it. It is disheartening for me to see them display their public support to various initiatives designed to obscure reality. Recently the scandal of the retail giant BHS was covered in the media. Today's scandal is the turn of another Retailer Sports Direct, the founder up infront of the Business Select Committee. Workers exploited, poor conduct of employees etc etc. Why will no one in power challenge the exploitive world of private care homes? What is preventing them from doing so? This hidden scandal needs addressing, it is now at epidemic levels. Why is this being allowed to happen in the private care home sector .... ? Workers underpaid, undervalued, unsupported, poor or no training Residents neglected/abused Avoidable hospital admissions AND avoidable deaths Residents malnourished and dehydrated Families bullied into silence if they dare to raise concerns Private care home, private funding = No Human Rights for resident or their family Many care home providers could afford the Living Wage before this was recently enforced, but they CHOSE not to. Now they make cuts to protect their healthy profits, blaming it on the introduction of the Living Wage. We hear Ministers supporting care homes, they too blaming the effects of budget cuts and introduction of Living Wage. Why is no one taking into account certain care providers pleading poverty have guaranteed investment returns? Small and medium size care homes are struggling, we agree. This is very sad, as there will be genuine care homes out there doing their very best. They do not have the comfort blanket of a healthy profit margin to prop them up during these times of hardship, unlike the corporate giants. The wealthiest will survive these times. We need to move away from the large profiteering providers, invest, support and embrace a new era of smaller care homes, who want to deliver the person centred care families long for, and good care staff want the opportunity to deliver. Is it a case of the genuine ones closing down to clear the way for the Big Ones? Don't be fooled that bigger means better, or the new era of Care Villages is just what we need. The reality of plush new care villages has already emerged. It is no different to what we have now, presented in fancy packaging, another attempt to deceive. Look at timeshare to understand the concept of private care homes. Many people buy with their eyes. Your Voice Matters feel strongly that private care home providers should be under the same scrutiny as any other business. If they fail to deliver their service to the standard they advertise, there should be consequences? Not just a poor rating from the Regulator and being given a slap on the wrist, with numerous chances to put things right. The issue of the failing care home sector runs deep. Dig down the layers, look at past jobs of owners, managers, links to others, investments etc. Currently the private care home sector have power and control, able to do as they please, fail residents, bully staff and families of residents, whilst employing marketing companies to assist them in blinding the public to help get their beds filled. As care homes run by Local Authorities close, and more and more and more homes refuse to accept state funded residents, this is a serious concern. Your Voice Matters will carry on our relentless efforts to encourage Ministers to treat the hidden scandal of the elderly care home sector as the priority it deserves to be. Ageing is an issue that effects us all. Yes care homes are a business and should be treated as such with much tougher regulation and tougher penalties when they fail.