Where’s the Respect?

Last night I watched the Panorama programme ‘Behind Closed Doors’, which exposed what ‘could’ be a fairly common issue with poor quality care being provided for older people living in Care homes. Some scenes were disturbing. There was a fundamental disrespect from some staff towards these dependant people who just wanted, it seemed, some time, respect and compassion in their support needs.

It’s perhaps easy to generalise here and I do accept that there is some excellent care provision out there for old people. But how can we guarantee it? This subject is particularly relevant to me as we have a family member who really needs to be in a care home now, but these decisions are very difficult to make and can affect a lot of people. Making an objective decision based on someone’s needs, but with such a strong emotional aspect to it all, does confuse the matter.

If the Panorama programme is accurate, then some serious intervention is required by company owners and regulators to improve this. Better accountability and governance is necessary. Perhaps cameras in homes is the only way, but this doesn’t provide privacy for people.

It’s worth remembering that Care homes are generally profitable companies and are phenomenally expensive to live in; £500-700 a week is fairly common and some people are self-funding this. The ‘sell’ is a lifestyle which for some may be just right, but others, hopefully a minority, are buying a false dream.

Sadly, I think the problem here is much wider spread. Lacking respect for other people in society is a cultural issue. My wife and I were in a hospital the other day; it was a very ‘multi-cultural’ experience sitting in the waiting area. I actually felt uncomfortable sitting near some people who had such a blatant disrespect for others in their actions, and their children’s too – there was a real arrogance. In this instance, it seemed that technology was partly to blame as two parents were glued to their phones, while their young child roamed around swearing with a games device in his hand.

I think these abuse issues aren’t just happening in care homes. Anyone who is dependant on support may be exposed to this unbelievable behaviour; children’s nurseries and hospitals being just two other obvious examples.

Improving these issues is complex, but society in general, it seems to me, lacks respect for others and this is having a real impact in some specific situations and adversely affecting people lives.

How sad. Where’s the respect? What a sad way for these people to spend the final chapter of their life.

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