In this second of two guest blog posts, soprano, performer, recording artist and soon-to-be author Joy Dey shares her experience of dementia care in the UK, where her mum Winnifred was neglected in three separate care homes. The first post is here.
My mum Winifred was neglected in three separate care homes between 2013 and 2018. She was evicted from the last of the three, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as she now resides in a wonderful home where the management and staff really do care, and where the practices and systems reflect that.
My experience with mum has convinced me that we need CCTV cameras in the common areas of care homes throughout the UK, and I fully support Jayne Connery’s Care Campaign for the Vulnerable. Jayne has worked tirelessly to create awareness of the difficulties many of us face in getting good care for our nearest and dearest. Her quest for CCTV to be installed in all communal areas of care homes in the UK can only bring more comfort for relatives and transparency for care homes.
For example, if CCTV cameras had been installed in the communal areas of Holly Lodge, the place from which my mother was evicted, they would have captured this kind of neglect:
- Poor quality food served to residents in their seats (and not in the dining room)
- Fluctuating meal times, particularly at ‘tea time’. This could take place any time between 3.15 and 5.30 or later
- Lack of (or no) staff on the floor
- Residents prepared for bed anytime after 3 pm
- Lack of/late toileting; residents calling to be taken to the toilet and waiting; residents regularly asking relatives “can you ‘elp me” … as no staff on the floor
- Residents being left in wheelchairs and not transferred to chairs;
- Little/no stimulation
- Shouting at residents
- Drugs trolley being left open and no one on floor
- Mum (and other residents) in the stair lift, in various states of confusion and distress
- Mum (and others) going ‘missing’
- Unnecessary falls
- Not being taken outside
- Not being taken to the dining room
- Due to lack of updated training and lack of staff, wheelchairs used instead of maintaining mobility – leading to premature bed bound residents
I feel that by addressing these kinds of issues, care will be improved and people who live with dementia will do so with dignity until the very end.
Joy Dey is a soprano singer, performer and recording artist, living in South East Kent, United Kingdom. She is currently working on several books, one of which will likely eventually contain a version of this piece. At the time of posting (August 2018), Joy’s Mum, Winifred, lived in a care home, where Joy visited her almost daily. Winifred was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008
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