Taking care of our elderly
FIVE years ago, the Leas Cross scandal, and the disclosures of unacceptable conditions and deplorable incidents in other nursing homes, alarmed the nation and increased the anxieties of people with family members in full-time care. How much has improved since then, and how much has stayed the same?
The record is patchy at best. The number of very serious complaints has diminished, but the list is still far from tolerable. It includes instances of physical abuse, residents allowed to wander out of homes unsupervised, and allegations of theft. In one case, a nurse jabbed a resident in the chest with a pair of scissors.
However, there have been commendable developments. The Health Information and Quality Authority now has responsibility for investigations. It publishes inspection reports on its website, and last month it got an interim court order to deregister one nursing home.