After writing about the death of Yuk Kiu Lee, and reading about other issues raised in relation to Fremantle homes in this borough, I read this story in yesterday's Telegraph:
Whilst not implying that the homes run by Fremantle are in any way comparable to the , appalling examples shown here, this article serves to underline the urgent need to make inspection of residential homes more stringent, and to ensure full compliance with agreed standards of care.
Local authorities have a legal and moral duty to require homes that care for residents are continually monitored and held to account if they show failings that will have an impact on the well being of elderly and vulnerable residents.
My personal experience has been that a local authority - Barnet, in our case - may disregard the poor standards of care highlighted by CQC inspections simply because of a chronic lack of shortage of available placements.
And the CQC itself appears to tolerate extended and continual breaches of even statutory standards, as did the former inspection body: indeed, to my utter horror I note that the home where my own father received such appalling, inhumane treatment is still being assessed as presenting the same failures that were evident at the time of his death nearly nine years ago - a care home in Edgware, called Knights Court: I wrote about this in several posts, including:
At the time I did not name the home, in order to prevent any further indignity to those who might still be resident. I doubt very much that any of those residents are still there, or indeed, are still alive.
Now here is an extract of an inspection report regarding this home from this year: the full report is simply shameful - read it here (extract of the summary reproduced below, as found):
"Most of the people we spoke said that there were fewer activities in the home because the activities co-ordinator had left the home. Two visiting relatives did not wish to speak with us, and one told us that they ?did not have anything nice to say about the home?.
One visiting relative told us that they were generally satisfied with the care their relative received. They said that the staff looked after their relative well, but they ?could smile more often?. Another person, whose relative had Alzheimer?s disease, said that the staff did not understand their relative?s needs. People with dementia did not experience care, treatment and support that met their needs and protected their rights.
Nursing and care staff did not have sufficient skills and training in dementia care to ensure that they could understand and meet the needs of people with dementia.
People were not supported to be able to eat and drink sufficient amounts to meet their needs. We saw evidence that the risks of malnutrition were not monitored and recorded affectively.
The provider had not dealt with instances of possible abuse appropriately, to protect and safeguard people in the home.
Medicines were not administered safely.
Arrangements for the recording of medicine did not ensure that prescribed medicines were given to people appropriately."
Similar failings, such as in regard to medicine allocation, and the lack of activities, and worse, have been reported at this home time and time again over the years. If even breaches of statutory requirements were allowed to continue with no real penality, however, as a result of the watchdog's failure to act, what chance was there that the quality of life for residents in more general terms would ever improve?
That this can happen and go unsanctioned for so long is is simply intolerable: and now residents with possible malnutrition, and failures to deal with alleged abuse? Horrifyingly, there is another reference to the use of restraint, similiar to the appalling treatment suffered by my father, a resident with unexplained bruises and scratches, falls incorrectly recorded, and a number of further safeguarding concerns which had gone unreported by the home.
In the years since my father died, the only real action that has taken place in relation to this home, as far as I am aware, is that after concerns were raised with Harrow Council, a safeguarding adults investigation was instigated, and for a year no new residents were accepted, although the home continued to 'care' for those in place.
After a while business was resumed as normal. The inspectors continued visiting, as normal.
After this summer's inspection, and the findings detailed above, a follow up visit has noted 'improvements', and so, yes, the home continues as it always has and always does, in the same cycle of repeated failures, with no fear of real censure - or loss of custom.
I note also that Life Style Care plc, the company that now runs this place again (it was in the control of the infamous Southern Cross company for a while) has two warnings from the CQC in regard to two of its other homes:
One was issued in August, one in February. There would appear to be no follow up report published on the earlier inspection. Another home received a warning in December 2011.
I wonder if Mr Ramesh Sachdev, and his wife Pratibha, who, the company website tells us, set up this company in 1987, would leave their own elderly parents into such places?
According to a Telegraph article in 2006,
Mr Sachdev had amassed a fortune of £280 million from his nursing home businesses. Or to put it another way, from the hard earned life savings and pensions of people like my ninety five year old father.
How many elderly people, in the grip of dementia, have ended their lives in such misery, in such indignity, and in such distress, in homes like these?
And how many more will face the same fate, if these abuses, this defiance of the law, and such disregard for their human rights, are allowed to continue unpunished?
My father, your mother, your wife. Me: or you.
I really cannot bear to think about it.
Please read the comment from Mr Reasonable, below. He tells us that last year Barnet Council paid Lifestyle Care plc £492,000 and in July alone, paid them £80,913. Now ask yourself if, in the light of the Fremantle lapses, and the evidence of this post, our council is really putting the wellbeing of vulnerable residents in need of care, and the need to protect them from risk of harm before the 'relentless drive for efficiency' of their own heartless, mercenary agenda.