Lifting the lid on care homes

This week the Care Inspectorate issued a hard hitting report about Pentland Hill Nursing Home in Edinburgh. Age Scotland’s Doug Anthoney responded.

Playing dominos

An unannounced inspection in July, which followed a significant number of complaints within the past year about the Home, revealed a catalogue of failings.  The Care Inspectorate has issued a formal improvement notice, and intends to work with the nursing home provider, Bupa, to support them make the necessary improvements.  New admissions have meanwhile been suspended.

We’re appalled that Bupa has allowed management to crumble at Pentland Hill and that; as a result, the quality of care for older people has fallen below the minimum acceptable standard.  The Care Inspectorate is to be commended for uncovering this mess; however we believe that the public will be left wondering what penalties Bupa could, or should, incur for its failures.  The Inspectorate has the power to shut down a failing nursing home, but circumstances would have to be dire in the extreme for this to be in the best interests of residents.  So what’s the solution?  Fines would have to be substantial to focus the mind of a large care provider, and perhaps still be far less than the cost of reputational damage.  We’d be interested in views on this.

This week we were also asked to comment on new figures from the Office for National Statistics suggesting older women are often missing out on the benefits of the internet. Just over a quarter of women aged 75 and older, compared to two in every five men in the same age group, have ever been online.

There are great opportunities for older people online, we said, from keeping in touch with friends and family through Skype to saving money on home energy.  Our Itea and biscuits week in September is an example of what we are doing to help more people to take up these opportunities.  However there always be some who can’t, or prefer not to, go online and their wishes and needs should be respected.  That’s why we’re supporting the Keep me Posted campaign which calls for service providers to ensure people who still want written bills, statements and correspondence aren’t marginalised.

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