Continuing failings in elderly care in the UK

A recent investigation by the Telegraph has found a serious issue with the level and quality home care being delivered by UK councils to elderly people. The investigation found that “more than half a million “drive-by” visits lasting less than five minutes“.  The findings also indicated that in 74% of cases, care workers were being told to ensure home visits to the elderly lasted 15 minutes or less.

Choices for the elderly


© 2007 Robert Nash

The suggested ’15 minute’ mandate from council social services departments across the UK means that the elderly requiring care within their own homes are either being forced to make choices, or having these forced upon by the carer.  Those choice include whether to receive help with dressing and bathing or help with being fed. This is really no choice, as the elderly person will either suffer hunger and potential malnutrition by not being fed properly or, alternatively, have their health and lifestyle suffer because they are not being properly bathed and dressed. Moreover, this situation will have an adverse impact on their dignity and feeling of self-worth, which could ultimately lead to depression and potentially death.

Is this really the way we should be treating our elderly in the 21st century?

Broken promises

In response to the report of the Telegraph investigations, the government has indicated that it is be changing the guidelines to local councils so that this situation does not continue in the future. However, one has to question whether these promises will be kept. For the past two decades respective governments have promised to put patient-care, as well as dignity and respect, at the centre of caring for the elderly. Yet this current problem, and repeated repeated reports of elderly abuse, suggest that none of the political parties have put in place a sufficiently robust monitoring system to ensure that our increasing elderly population are being treated and cared for in a humane and positive manner. It certainly is Time for a change in the way we treat our elderly, who have given so much to us all during their lives, don’t you think?

Paul is the writing team leader at Re&d Ltd, find out more here. If you want to ask us about what we do, send an e.mail to

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