What can you do if you’re concerned about an elderly person’s care?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Sunday, February 19th, 2017

The good news is that we're all living longer, but it will come as no surprise that it's estimated that one in four of us will, at some point, require care or support in our old age to make our lives easier and more comfortable.

With local authorities’ social care budgets under increasing pressure, and many care homes around the country closing, it can sometimes be hard to get the right care and monitoring in place for an elderly relative or friend.Older people can often have medical needs that require domiciliary care, or they may need to go into a residential or nursing home. Sadly, as documented by the media and the BBC, some carers and homes can on occasion fall short in the standard of care they offer their patients.

If you have concerns about the care a friend or relative is receiving, then here is what you should do. Don’t be afraid to make a complaint; although it can seem like a daunting task to raise issues relating to someone’s care, it’s important to remember that you have a right to expect certain standards to be met. Care homes, home care agencies and NHS hospitals must all be registered with their national regulatory body and meet the minimum standards set.


Common problems

When problems occur, they often relate to personal care, toileting, staff behaviour and the general happiness and wellbeing of the patient. If you have concerns in these areas, then discuss them with the patient. Use your own observations, or if you can’t be there, ask someone else to be present when the carer comes or visit the patient in the home to form a view of the care provided.

If you have any concerns, or suspect that the patient is being abused in any way, ask them about it in private and get as much detail as possible. You should then report the matter to the manager responsible for the patient’s care. Ask them for an explanation and an investigation. Follow up your verbal complaint in writing.

If you witness abuse or have evidence that suggests basic standards aren’t being met, then intervene as soon as you can to stop it. Write down what happened and follow it up with the care manager.


Raising your concerns

If you still have concerns, then you should contact the social care registration authority in your area to raise a complaint. If you still aren’t satisfied, then contact your local authority (even if they don’t fund the patient’s care). All councils have procedures in place to deal with the care and protection of vulnerable adults and have the powers to intervene.


Your next step

Our Medical Negligence team are on hand to talk about your healthcare issues and answer your questions. So, if you’d like a confidential discussion, please call us on 0203 468 3340, or you can visit our website attwatersjamesonhill.co.uk and complete our online contact form.

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