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Lack of choice means families settle for poor care homes

Families are being forced to leave their loved ones in inadequate care homes, a consumer group has warned.

‘Systemic failures’ mean half of those needing care have to wait for a bed while choice is limited for many, the Which? survey found.

Some 48 per cent of those who arranged care for themselves or a loved one said there had been no places in one or more of the local homes they considered.

Some 48 per cent of those who arranged care for themselves or a loved one said there had been no places in one or more of the local homes they considered

The lack of places meant many families – 17 per cent – were forced to move loved ones into care homes they had reservations about.

And 16 per cent had to opt for a home away from friends and family. When they did find a bed, as many as 25 per cent said they were left feeling guilty or annoyed that they could not find a more suitable place.

The survey again highlights the extent of the crisis facing the broken care system. Those who go into a care home have to use their assets to pay the full costs of care until they are reduced to their last £23,250.

The remaining cost is then taken off the value of their home after they die – denying children their inheritance.

The survey again highlights the extent of the crisis facing the broken care system. Those who go into a care home have to use their assets to pay the full costs of care until they are reduced to their last £23,250

The survey again highlights the extent of the crisis facing the broken care system. Those who go into a care home have to use their assets to pay the full costs of care until they are reduced to their last £23,250

As prime minister, David Cameron had pledged to cap sky-high care costs at £75,000, but this has been shelved until after 2020. Despite the huge cost, many who are in homes still receive substandard care.

Last month the Mail revealed the CQC watchdog was intervening over poor standards in care firms four times every day.

That is an increase of almost 70 per cent in just a year.

Ministers are under pressure to provide extra money to save the system from collapse. Which? is calling for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to extend its inquiry into the care-home market beyond issues around quality, fees and complaints and ‘confront the creaking care sector now’.

Alex Hayman, of Which?, said: ‘Making the decision to move a loved one into a care home is difficult enough, so it is unacceptable that so many families are left feeling guilty or concerned about the choices they have made, simply because there is no choice.

‘The CMA must look at the huge local disparities in care home provision, which are fast reaching crisis point.’

Linda Thomas, of the Local Government Association, which represents councils, said: ‘Councils are committed to ensuring that people have access to good quality care.

‘But this is being put at risk by the severe funding pressures faced by social care services. An increasing number of care homes are closing and care providers are handing back their council contracts because of cost pressures. We have warned that £1.3billion is needed right now just to stabilise the perilously fragile care-provider market.

‘It is vital that the Government sets out in the autumn Budget how it will address the immediate social care crisis and deliver long-lasting reform that meets the needs of adults of all ages needing social care.’ The Which? survey was based on an online Populus poll of 764 British adults who have arranged care in the past 12 months.

Fred Horley, from Devon, struggled to find good care for his 83-year-old wife, Joan, who has since died. He said her poor experience has left him worried for his own future.

The 86-year-old said: ‘Joan’s experience was far from satisfactory. At times, my wife was left up to an hour after activating an emergency alarm before any help came.

‘One time she laid on the floor, in the dark, shouting for help. My wife’s experience has opened my eyes to what could happen to me when I’m in care. But good quality care homes where I live are difficult to come by, expensive and have few vacancies.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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