AMERICAN LESSONS – THE FUTURE OF CARE IN THE UK

A report in December, 2014 (bigstory.ap.org), stated that ‘New Mexico’s attorney general … sued one of the nation’s largest nursing home chains over inadequate resident care … The novel approach in the lawsuit filed by outgoing Democratic Attorney General Gary King could be applied in other states if it succeeds. It targets seven nursing homes run by Preferred Care Partners Management Group L.P. of Plano, Texas, a privately held company with operations in at least 10 states: Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas … Traditionally, nursing home allegations have identified lapses in care — such as avoidable deaths, hygiene issues or a pattern of resident injuries from falls … Cited as Confidential Witness 2, the daughter of one patient at a Santa Fe facility … said she repeatedly found her father unattended, dirty and complaining he was hungry. With the facility’s staff saying they didn’t have enough time, the woman took over the daily bathing and feeding that the nursing home was being paid by the government to do … She would come in every day just after she left work around 5:00 p.m.,” the complaint said. “She could not stand to see her father neglected, so providing his basic care became her life’.

There you have it, the solution to ‘some unacceptable staff behaviours were not challenged effectively’ – ‘staff hitting, pushing, shoving, dragging, kicking, secluding, belittling, mocking and goading people … withholding food, giving cold showers, over-zealous or premature use of restraint’ (quotes concerning the ‘Cornwall abuse scandal’) – is to prosecute at an executive and commissioning level. Send the ruling clique to prison for 5 years. Things would soon improve. Cameras in all care facilities could be made compulsory, of course, as an alternative, but that would be like filming spot-the-staff, an equivalent of a David Attenborough documentary about the rareness of snow leopards! The cameras might even show what goes on a resident’s dinner plate, and, in that case, some film footage might have to be given an x-certificate, not something to be seen at a vicar’s tea party, or the RCN Conference. Can you imagine the outrage? “Oh Cecilia, this awful film is putting me off of my cream bun and coffee!” – referring to a vicar’s tea party, of course.

Can’t afford care home top up fees for your mum or dad? Think that’s the end of the matter? Wrong!, as a report in ‘Forbes’ shockingly explained: ‘A Pennsylvania state appeals court has ruled that the adult son of a nursing home resident is responsible for her unpaid $93,000 bill. And the decision has some elder care lawyers wondering if this is just the beginning of a trend’. You better believe it. ‘Pennsylvania is one of 30 states that have filial responsibility statutes—laws that impose a duty on adult children to care for their indigent parents. About two-thirds of those states, including Pennsylvania, allow long-term care providers to sue family members to recover unpaid costs. The rest, including states such as Massachusetts, have no recovery provisions. However, failing to care for a parent is a criminal offense. In the Bay State, the penalty is a $200 fine or up to one year in jail. The court also ruled that the facility could arbitrarily go after any family member it wanted, as long as it could prove that relative had the resources to pay’. Is this writing on the wall plain enough – God help the granddaughter with a well paid job! – the pack of capitalist hyenas running the no-care business will be on your trail. A thought occurs, though, could a relative claim a discount on the debt if their relative had been subject to ‘hitting, pushing, shoving, dragging, kicking, secluding, belittling, mocking and goading’? It might pay to send your loved one to Cornwall, and sod your conscience.

Another game coming our way via Uncle Sam-Old-Lies: ‘Nursing-home residents call in a panic: First they are sent to a hospital for a medical or mental health condition. Then, when the hospital discharges them, the nursing homes won’t take them back. It’s called ‘hospital dumping’, said Marilyn McCormick, regional coordinator for St. Louis Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office, which is funded under the federal Older Americans Act. The dumping of mostly low-income nursing-home patients—including a growing number of African-American elders, such as those in North St. Louis, is a nationwide problem, one involving a complicated dance between nursing homes that complain of low Medicaid payments, hospitals put on the spot to find another facility that will take the person, and frail elders and their families’ (St. Louis New America Media, Rebecca S. Rivas). What visions await! Skint Granny fighting not to get in the ambulance! – she knows her fate is to be sent to the equivalent of a nursing home knackers’ yard in the UK, or to be whisked off to an economy flight to a cheap nursing home in Botswana.

The UK is generally 10-20 years behind what America does, but, as sure as their capitalism is our capitalims, and their corporations are our corporations, it spreads here eventually, like an illness that develops so slowly the patient doesn’t realise they are sick, and, by the time the realisation sets in, so has rigor mortis.

lenin nightingale 2015

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3 thoughts on “AMERICAN LESSONS – THE FUTURE OF CARE IN THE UK

    • I know of people who have spent all day by the side of their loved ones in hospital assisting them and where the nursing and medical staff have been only too grateful for the extra pair of hands – freely given and without any thought of gain except knowing that they are helping their loved one to recover in homely loving care.

  1. Pingback: Private Care Home Profit Made Simple | NURSE BLOG INTERNATIONAL

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