Volunteer eyes and ears for care watchdog

In a week when failing care homes again hogged the headlines, the Care Inspectorate announced plans to recruit volunteer eyes and ears to help drive up standards.  Doug Anthoney reports.

Woman with home carer

The Care Inspectorate, Scotland’s care ‘watchdog,’ is recruiting 100 members of the public to act as lay assessors.  This would more than double its current volunteer contingent of 70.  The role of lay assessors is to talk to residents and their families to find out how they feel about the care they are receiving

We welcome the increase in scrutiny that extra lay assessors would bring. But their involvement has to be more than just a ‘box-ticking exercise.’ It’s a stressful time when people make the decision to move into a care home, and many have concerns about how they or their family members will be treated and whether their rights, preferences and lifestyle choices will be respected.  It is important that people have contact with the Care Inspectorate, are listened to and that the care home will be held to account if anything goes wrong.  We hope that this will be a step towards the end of the terrible abuse stories we have heard over the last few years.

Meanwhile we’ve watched the crisis at Pentland Hill unfold with increasing alarm.  Police are now investigating four deaths and a number of additional complaints have been made by family members.  We urge the agencies to be as quick and rigorous as possible in their investigations, so that lessons can be learned and residents and their families get satisfaction.

Doug Anthoney is Age Scotland Communication and Campaigns Officer.  This post is part of the ‘Tomorrow’s Fish and Chip paper’ article series reporting the hot topics Age Scotland has been discussing with the media each week, and the Charity’s response.

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