Research shows that the majority of senior citizens prefer home care services over institutionalized care. Home is where the heart is, after all. Unfortunately, a recent report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found that home care systems operated by local authorities have displayed shocking neglect in their care of the elderly.
Issues Uncovered in Government Funded Homecare
The report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission revealed unsettling reports from seniors, including:
- Visits by caregivers were often so short and infrequent there was not enough time to complete even the most basic tasks. Many of the seniors were offered a choice between being fed, having their beds changed, or getting washed.
- Some were undressed in front of windows, in full view of their neighbors.
- As if this was not bad enough, the report went on to state that some elderly persons were left in their beds for up to 17 hours, completely alone, often on soiled sheets.
Neil Crowther, the human rights director of the EHRC, said, “The level of care is beginning to put these very, very basic rights at risk. The right to life, the right to live free of inhuman and degrading treatment and the right to a family life.”
It isn’t surprising that this blatant lack of care caused many seniors to end up in hospitals or care homes prematurely. And who knows how many other instances of abuse haven’t yet been reported? The EHRC explains, “The full extent of the potential human rights breaches is likely to be masked by the fear of complaining and the low expectations about the quality of home care that many older people believe they are entitled to. One in five older people who responded to the call for evidence said that they would not complain because they didn’t know how to, or for fear of repercussions.”
The Problem and the Solution
No doubt many of us wonder how this abuse and neglect could possibly happen. How do the levels of care sink so low?
- Staff turnover in government-run agencies is one reason. One woman reported having 32 different jobs over a two-week period. Although not all caregivers jump around jobs as much as this woman, many do view their current position as temporary.
- Many caregivers are overworked and expected to care for more people than reasonable, making it comprehensible that the elderly receiving home care via a government-funded program could be neglected.
Sure, these are reasona – but it’s not an excuse. When it comes to elder abuse and neglect, there is no excuse. Although the report from the EHRC may cause homecare agencies to step up their standards, that isn’t enough to solve the problem. Remote caregivers will still be out on their own, without supervision.
Care Management Software As A Solution
Real-time visibility to the point-of-care is the only practical home care solution. The care management software provided by ClearCare not only lets the agency and family members know when the caregiver arrives at the senior’s home, but also when specific tasks are completed. Obviously this leaves little room for error – like the caregiver choosing between washing and feeding.
ClearCare’s homecare software eliminates ambiguity by spelling out the precise tasks that need to be performed and requiring status updates each day and for every task. This innovative technology not only enables but mandates frequent communications and check-ins with remote caregivers. Many agencies tie ClearCare’s clock-in/clock-out and reporting functions directly to payroll so the caregivers have no option other than using the system. This sophisticated level of oversight reminds caregivers they are always on the job, discouraging abuse and neglect.
ClearCare provides the supervision that caregivers need, and a quality care guarantee the elderly deserve.