Call for changes at NI care homes

Published Wednesday, 13 August 2014
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The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland is to recommend changes in the regulation of care homes in the region.

Call for changes at NI care homes
The Commissioner wants a new adult safeguarding law to include corporate neglect (© Getty)

Claire Keatinge is set to recommend a review of the regulation, inspection and delivery of nursing, residential and domiciliary care to the Minister of Health Edwin Poots.

The proposals follow a recent Independent Review into Cherry Tree House Nursing and Residential Care Home in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim.

It revealed a damning catalogue of poor care and consistent failures by the home over several years.

The report also highlighted that complaints and concerns were raised by staff, relatives and residents. They were not properly dealt with and in some cases, staff were bullied and residents told to leave the home.

The Commissioner said: "The findings of the Independent Review into Cherry Tree House Nursing and Residential Care Home highlight fundamental failings in the regulation, inspection and delivery of care to vulnerable older people.

"The fact that this home continued to operate for years in spite of persistently failing to meet the necessary standards is shocking.

"The whole complex system of registered owners and managers, professional standards and regulation, inspections, protections for whistleblowers, improvement and compliance regulations still did not protect vulnerable older people from years of cruelty and poor care," Ms Keatinge said.

Clearly the current system does not adequately protect those who rely on it for their care.

Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland

She continued: "Vulnerable older people must be protected - and the public must be able to have confidence that residential and nursing homes place the care, dignity and respect of their residents at the centre of everything they do.

"I am reviewing the regulation, inspection and delivery of care in nursing and residential homes, as well as in the provision of domiciliary care, and will be making a series of recommendations to the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in the Autumn.

"My review will focus on what needs to happen so that when failings in care homes are identified, they are required to make the necessary improvements very quickly or they are closed down."

The Commissioner said that she had already called on the Minister to introduce new adult safeguarding legislation to include a criminal offence of corporate neglect.

"This would allow for prosecution of care home and care service owners who abuse and neglect older people in homes they own or services they run. The findings of the report into Cherry Tree House Nursing and Residential Care Home show clearly that care home owners must be held accountable for the standards in homes they own.

"This new proposed legislation needs to be put in place without delay.

"It is essential that the rights, quality of life, dignity and care needs of vulnerable older people must be at the heart of planning, delivering, regulating and inspecting care services to give confidence and certainty to the older people of today and tomorrow."

© UTV News
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8 Comments
v in newtownards wrote (128 days ago):
I am totally with the commissisoner on this. Our elerly and vulnerable residents are totally relying on our care. It sickens me that a few un caring care staff and nurses can give all good care staff and nurses a bad name. My feelings are the staffing needs sorted out in all these homes. We can not give good quality of care to our residents whilst having the minium staff.We get hit for all the documentation that needs to be filled in. We need proper staffing levels to cope with all the pressure. Better wages and better training and incentives to encourage staff to enjoy their work and training. All our care homes are making money and our residents deserve the best care we can give them. Its up to the rqia,government to get this all overturned and give us the good quality of care that will set northern ireland head and shoulders above the rest of the uk. Its about time the owners were made to pay good wages and the staffing to give the good quality of care thats needed.
Kelly in Armagh wrote (129 days ago):
Paul in Doire; while I agree that care workers are badly paid, I'm fed up of that being used as an excuse. I'm in a minimum wage job myself after being made redundant but I still do it to the best of my ability. Could I be a care worker? No. However, they know the terms and conditions when they take the job and if they can't perform to an acceptable standard, they should do aomething else.
Patrick Quinn in Lurgan wrote (130 days ago):
Fair play to you heather as a carer i understand you god bless x
l/derry in l/derry wrote (130 days ago):
why if this was happening for years was something not done sooner to protect the residents and (staff) the powers that be should hang their heads in shame
heather in newtownabbey wrote (130 days ago):
ref paul in doire so you think if care assistants are paid more money that will fix the care of elderly people ??? fair enough the wages should be better ,, but that gives no excuse for ill treatment of vulnerable people like i said in my previous comment you cant put a price on peoples lives !!! they know the wages when they apply for the job !! so dont go down the road of money money money !! this is peoples lives we are dealing with , and more than likely these very people have paid all their lives to be bloody cared for in a dignafied way !!!!
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