GrievingBrian Martin, a professor of social sciences at the University of Wollongong ( brilliantly exposed the role of banks in funding management corporations that run nursing homes on a cost-cutting-is-God basis, ignoring the needs of the frail and vulnerable elderly who are thrown into their clutches.

The issue of who owns nursing homes, and the unsuitability of the profit motive in care, is crucially important in the UK, with large management corporations, such as Care UK and Terra Firma, abandoning state funded nursing homes in working class areas to concentrate on more lucrative, privately funded facilities in affluent areas. It is like vultures having sucked the marrow out of a carcass moving on to more juicy pickings.

Nothing wrong with that, we allowed this system to spawn, and can not complain when investors follow a logical path toward enhanced profits. The real question being, why did we allow the care-for-profit industry to establish itself in the UK, when it had so miserably failed the needs of many neglected and abused elderly Americans? The answer is depressingly obvious – politicians with fingers in the corporate pie spun a yarn to the gullible that ‘private is best’, when all they were doing is making their masters in the banking sector richer.

What I ask of Mr. Corbyn is to define his policy on who should operate nursing homes. The Labour Party have defined policy in the areas of transport and energy – nationalise rail and energy utility companies (little chance in the full sense of the concept of ‘nationalisation’) – and make the appropriate noises about defending the NHS; but, as every political party of the immediate past,are deafeningly silent about the fate of the neglected and abused elderly who are languishing in the sink holes of the care-for-profits system.

Do you intend to abandon the care-for-profits system in nursing homes? If not, why not?

Do you intend to nationalise all nursing homes that are predominantly state funded, integrating them into the NHS? If not, why not?

Who is your spokesperson on such matters? To whom specifically should enquiries be made as to your policies regarding nursing homes? Do we automatically assume that this person is your Shadow Health Minister? If not, why not? Surely, such issues as these are not beneath the remit of your spokesperson for the NHS?

Rail and energy nationalisation may have populist support. Is it because the forgotten area of understaffed and neglectful nursing homes has no vote winning potential that you are silent about them?

What is your stance on making audio-camera devices compulsory in nursing facilities?, giving the ongoing reporting of disgusting care and abuse being meted out in nursing homes.

Mr. Corbyn, we would like to know your policy on these matters. Those abandoned to the talons of care-for-profit have a right to know, don’t you think?

Brian Martin summarised the role of banks in ‘vulturising’ the elderly infirm in an Australian context, and his words are as pertinent today to the UK as ever:

‘Since then the banks have embraced the aged care bonanza with enthusiasm but have been careful to protect their funds. Several banks and some property developers have bought or funded aged care facilities of various sorts and formed vehicles for these investments.

As I understand it these development trusts buy or build, and own the retirement and nursing home facilities. The management and almost all the risks are vested in a management corporation which leases the facilities from the property trust. It does not own them. Most of the investment is in the expensive properties owned by the trust. If the company goes under the capital investment is not at risk.

In addition to this banks are experts in cutting costs and making profits. They give financial advice. They own enough of the service providers, whose survival depends on running the facilities owned by the banks, to insist that their market prescriptions are followed. They are there to make money for their mostly institutional shareholders and their prime responsibility is to these shareholders. They have little understanding of the consequences of their economic prescriptions for residents and patients. This is a recipe for problems.

One of the misconceptions revealed in their claims is that there are big economies in size. This is a person intensive one on one service. They consequently reduce staffing levels in the expectation that these economies and other “efficiencies” will make this work. The adverse consequences for care as the USA experience shows so well are only too obvious.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald spells out the approach which the banks and financial institutions take to investing in services for the elderly. This is an industry which is people intensive where time for human contact is essential and where individualised care is critical. What will the impact of “productivity levels” be?

In this instance power and control lie with the bankers who are well removed from the coal face in the facilities. The methods of evaluation, lines of communication and command are commercial and financial. It is not difficult to predict the likely outcomes.

The article below gives the bankers and the markets view of it. A nurse working in the system compares it to battery farming and calls it “people farming”. Different worlds (starting points) and different words for the same thing lead to a divide in perceptions. Experience clearly indicates which are the more accurate words. Brave new world!

The further management is distanced from the coal face the greater the likelihood of inappropriate managerialism. The provision of sufficient diapers for incontinent residents in Macquarie Bandk owned nursing homes is a good illustration of a pervasive problem.

Good business managers must manage costs, structure them and be able to control them. The costs of diapers mount up. But the needs of patients vary enormously, some requiring large numbers, others very few. It is simply impossible to standardise this or predict what will be required from day to day. In addition some makers of diapers promote their absorptive capacity and claim that they can be left on the resident for long periods even when soiled. This is nonsense but managers in their ivory towers seize on this. Frail residents can be left sitting in their urine and faeces for long periods. Managers even persuade relatives that this is acceptable.

We know that managers in Australia are rationing the number of diapers for residents because the nurses are complaining that they have to hoard nappies and hide them to be sure that they are there when needed. The corporate response is to deny and to claim that extra diapers are always available on request. They don’t seem to realise that the overworked trained nurse responsible for giving out extras will be busy or absent resulting in unacceptable delays. Managers looking for bonuses will ensure that this is a big hurdle and will discourage the issue of more diapers. It is simply a disguised system of rationing.

It is not often that spokesmen for big companies are so blinded by their rationalisations that they openly admit what they are doing is company wide policy. Australia’s Macquarie bank owns Leisureworld, Canada’s largest for-profit nursing home operator. One of their Canadian managers did just that. The use of “professional third-party providers” to determine the needs of the residents instead of the actual experience of their own staff at the bedside is particularly revealing on the sort of out of touch managerialism that is so prevalent. Instead those at the bedside are seen to have some ulterior motive – never that their actions are a response to what is happening in those beds.

It tells us what is happening globally as well as in Australia and across health and aged care. What is so difficult to understand is that they really do believe what they are saying – but they really do. The more impressive and wealthy people that believe it, the more legitimate it sounds to others, the more credible it becomes, and the more they can persuade others that they are right.

Most of the big financial institutions, but particularly Macquarie Bank see aged care as a global cow from which to milk profits and they have bought aggressively.

In most instances the financiers also have a stake in the operators (and visa versa). They exert a powerful influence on them and act as business advisers. Although the financier could terminate the contract and employ another operator this is really a partnership and the trust is simply a strategy to protect the investment. Termination of contracts is far more likely to be for financial reasons than for issues about the quality of care. There are therefore strong pressures to compromise care in order to please financially. I do not know if the lease arrangements give the financiers any share in profits but would be surprised if this were not so. This is an area and a set of arrangements to be watched carefully.

The for-profit operators are at particular risk. Pressures are put on them by the investing financiers, by their own financial difficulties, or by their eagerness to perform profitably. This drives them to increase profits at the expense of care and then develop strategies and justifications to make this seem legitimate. The strongly profit focused rhetoric used by the big financial investors is not reassuring.

Part of the swing to private equity is a consequence of the increased scrutiny and oversight we now impose on our market listed companies. This increased oversight is a response to problems in the market sector. Private equity has obvious attractions for those wanting to make money and avoid scrutiny. It has been very profitable. There has been some shift away from the short term invest and sell strategy and more long term investments have occurred.

The profit focus is as strong or stronger than in shareholder companies, but management is further removed from the actual business and what happens there. The only aim is profitability. The threat to health and aged care is obvious.

Private equity has taken off during the 21st century first in the USA, which leads the world in this and then in Australia.

Health and aged care have become targets first in the USA and then Australia – both for short term gains and for longer term investments as illustrated for aged care on this page. Most of the investments described on this page are part of the private equity phenomenon.

The changes in the marketplace leading up to the private equity phenomenon are criticised by John Bogle in a 2007 article (pdf file) in Daedalus. Bogle is a very successful businessman who is critical of the direction taken by the marketplace. He is a strong supporter of the primacy of the interest of the shareholder. In this article he is not talking about health, and does not write about the conflict intrinsic to this when it is taken to its logical conclusion in a society increasingly fundamentalist in its beliefs. When Bogle was interviewed about the intrusion of private equity into aged care he quite clearly indicated that this was a sector from which the for-profit processes should be excluded

Within a month the New York Times published a study (link to aged care crisis centre page) which revealed that not only had standards of care deteriorated in the large numbers of US nursing homes acquired by private equity firms, but the private equity groups had set up complex structures which made it almost impossible for residents and their families to seek penalties and compensation when they suffered from neglect and abuse in these homes. This had previously been the only really effective means of controlling corporate excesses. Government agencies were experiencing the same difficulties in extracting fines from the substandard private equity owned homes.

This caused considerable community and political concern in the USA with senior members of both US parties pressing for it to be dealt with by congress’.

This is the situation now in the UK.

What is your policy, Mr. Corbyn?

Who is your spokesperson? To whom may we inform of our concerns?

Do you and the Labour Party give a damn about nursing home care?

Please do not reply that the CQC operate a robust system of quality control. Do not stoop to such a fobbing-off absurdity.

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Alexandra-Gropp-2013-Nursing-Finalist-200x300I remember as a young nurse scooting around to fulfill the tasks that were ordained by a ward sister. It was like a Victorian railway timetable – one minute late brought on a heavy frown; 5 minutes late meant an icy blast of sarcasm. At least people were fed and watered by Sister’s almighty hand!

It was during one of these scooting about morning shifts that I suddenly saw Charlie sitting down, slouched back in a chair, feet resting on a table, and puffing contentedly on a cigarette. Let me clear up any confusion this scene may generate – Charlie was not some renegade patient who had decided to break the sanctity of Sister’s kingdom, that would have soon be dealt with (details withheld); oh no!, far worse than that, he was a student nurse, a year ahead of myself, who had suddenly, without any warning, decided that ‘enough was enough’ – the ‘nursing game’ was not for Charlie.

He told me, when I asked him about his behaviour: “It just came over me all of a sudden, a feeling of not belonging here”. He outlined his plans – to help with lunch time feeding (it was a ‘geriatric ward’), then wish everyone the best, before riding off in the distance, never to be seen or heard of again. To what greener pasture Charlie was heading he had no idea, other than it was “somewhere more suited to myself”.

It didn’t take long for the smoke signals to inform Matron what was happening. She marched onto the ward spitting feathers. “What are you doing?”, she demanded, and, almost in the same breath asked “do you know who I am!”. Charlie turned his face toward her slowly and blew smoke signals toward her! “Yes matron, of course I know who you are, why do you ask!”.

The enormity of Charlie’s response to an environment he had suddenly found alien in a moment of instant karma can not be comprehended by any recently qualified nurse. If you think you can imagine what it was like to work under an old time Sister, you are wrong, without being there, it can not be imagined.

It was many years later, when, as a manager, I was interviewing a young lady for a NA job, the memory of Charlie came flooding back. The interviewee informed me that she had been ordered to attend job interviews by the Job Centre, under the threat of having her benefits stopped. She had been working as a prostitute, but had very little to live on after her pimp took his cut. She said,”be kind and just sign this form, I don’t want to be here”. I duly signed, and offered her a cup of tea and three of my ginger biscuits.

Then it came over me. Overseas nurses had recently told me that nursing was one of the only routes out of their country for many – a way of converting time to money, so as to be able to support their family. Nurses and NA’s had told me that nursing was one of the few jobs left after the local mills and factories had closed, and that they saw their job as “better than nothing”, or it “buttering their bread”. Even more recently, nursing students have told me that their main reason for entering nursing was because of its free course.

Charlie’s realisation of not wanting to be in nursing was a sudden and harmless thing, wherehas for many it was an everyday fact that constantly gnawed at them, creating a resentment against the sick, old, and frail people they were supposed to care for. They didn’t care properly for these people because they didn’t care about them. Their minds were constantly elsewhere, counting down the clock till a metaphorical factory hooter sounded to release them into the fresh air of their real lives.

Nursing was just a job.

Of course some will shout, there are, and have always been, good and kind people in nursing. I have not implied otherwise. What I do infer is that there have always been too many in nursing roles who do not really want to be there. True, this applies to many jobs, but the surly coffee shop waitress can only take it out on her customer, who can walk out and think not to return. The sick, old, and frail can not walk away from neglect and abuse.

There is an overiding duty of any caring society to ensure that those entrusted to care actually care. The entire process of selection for caring roles needs to be addressed.

I see nothing wrong with trainee nurses having to work under the spotlight of being a NA for a year; in fact, this could be an accredited part of their course.

Dearhearts, You can not teach uncaring people to care; you can teach them the outward signs of a caring attitude, just as an actor can learn her or his lines, before giving a performance that may fool the audience they are witnessing reality.

A far more terrible reality is often played out once the audience has left, in the small hours of a night shift, in an isolated nursing home bedroom or hospital cubicle.

The searing beam of suitability to nurse should be shone into peoples’ hearts.
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Lenin Nightingale’s Forecast For the UK

Lenin addresses many new issues within his work, supported by indepth, international searching. Come back to us in 10 years time (if that) about the following;


Relatives forced to care for their relatives.
British patients sent abroad for care- in nursing homes or hospitals.
Cheaper nurse education- re-definition of what it is to be  a nurse.
Skills mix revolution in nursing.
Greater use of off-the peg nurses from overseas . Nursing Degree moved to Colleges.
Homecare will be assessed and costed as if  a person is in  a care home.
Elderly patients who are admitted to hospitals will be charged as if they are in a care home.
Care homes for the working class will be run by Local Authorities but they will hire charities to do it for them.
People of different ages and needs will be placed together in the same nursing facility ie return to the “workhouse system”.

The younger Generation

The majority of young people will be unable to own or rent  a house. More will remain with their parents- as is happening now.

More younger people will care for older relatives.

There will be an increase in communal living.

Debt will become the norm .


More zero-hour contracts.

Even weaker unions and demise of terms and conditions.

Robots will replace workers.

The unemployed will live in workhouse complexes and do menial jobs in return for food and board.


See eg David Icke money in the pocket will not exist. Cashless society.

Again David Icke microchips.

Ring- fenced villages of the rich.

All communication devices will be chipped with listening bugs.

Further reports being blocked within main news and on search engines.

Extinction of the working class by the ruling class- starved out or backdoor depopulation.

Dumped nuclear waste with poor regions of North Yorkshire , within 2 years.


Teachers will be replaced by robots or TV screens.

Centrally controlled curriculum to teach obediance to the exisiting order as they did in the middle ages.


We know about driverless cars eg David Icke

Also self propelled air flight via  a backpack. Already being tested eg robots. Consider relevant issues eg safety/children. Possibly linked to tracking.




dying_alone_by_holgahead84People should not die alone. They came into life surrounded by people, shared their life with people, gave life to people.

To die alone in a short-staffed nursing facility is a disgusting epitaph for a sick society.

A society that throws away its human garbage – no passing bells for those who die as cattle.

All dying people should be surrounded by caring people, loved ones, fiends.

As a nurse in charge I insisted on a member of staff being with a dying patient, and if I was accused by other nurses of lessening the care given to others, I said, yes, so be it, but would your attitude be different if it was you left dying in a dimly-lit room or hospital bed, or your spouse, or child?

No reply, usually, and if there was I would let rip. Many were of a like mind to me, of course, the last of a kind.

It should not be necessary, but, because of the reality of much of present-day nursing, American iniatives such as No One Dies Alone should be applauded, and taken up widely in Britain.

In the words of Debra Wood, RN: ‘Ideally, people will pass from life to death surrounded by loved ones or a nurse but, often times, patients lack friends and family willing or able to stay with them. And nurses are often too busy these days to sit with a terminally ill patient. In an effort to ensure that patients make the journey in the presence of a caring person, a number of hospitals around the country have launched No One Dies Alone or compassionate companion programs’.

The volunteers stay three or four hours with the dying person and may play soft music or hold the patient’s hand.

A volunteer said: “Those of us who volunteer have a sense we can assist people and be there during those moments.”

Sandra Clarke is credited with initiating the No One Dies Alone program,after being asked by a a patient who was near death to stay with him. She said she would, but by the time she had seen her other patients, the man had died, and she felt terrible.

She developed a guide and materials that she sent to 900 hospitals.

“This is a win-win,” said Clarke, explaining that staff nurses no long feel guilty about not being able to stay with a dying patient.

Volunteers find the experience changes them and prepares them about what to expect with death.

The volunteers make sure the patient is warm, comfortable and clean.

“Those last hours are not undignified and they are not abandoned,” Clarke said. “The idea is not to abandon them on their last journey.”

Volunteers agree to be contacted four times per month and sit with patients for two to four hour shifts.

The volunteers provide comfort-care measures to imminently dying patients at hospital and nursing homes.

The volunteers receive eight weeks of training, covering all issues of end of life care.

Nurses welcome this program. The volunteers are seen as advocates who can inform the nurse of any pain breakthrough or breathing deterioration.

The volunteers find it fulfilling, receiving immediate feedback that they are making a difference in someone’s life by providing companionship at the end of life.

The volunteers provide emotional, spiritual and social support in the hospital, nursing home, home, or hospice.

They commit to meet with the patient at least weekly through the course of the person’s illness or until family members arrive. The nursing facility offers the volunteers ongoing support and meets with them on a regular basis.

It should not be necessary, but, because it is, I urge compassionate people to step forward and set up local No One Dies Alone programs.

I urge all compassionate people to volunteer.

Do not let nursing become just a compassionless task.
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In America, the agencies involved in paying for nursing home costs of those not privately funded are the the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and, as any ‘piper’ are able to ‘call the tune’ – they can exert considerable influence over quality of care at nursing homes.

The British equivalent are local councils and their contracts compliance departments. Overall, care is monitored by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Because of the huge costs that arise from poor and negligent care – such as the hospitalisation of residents – the CMS is going to work with ‘partner organisations’in states that have signed up to this initiative. Each of these organisations will have staff unducted into 145 participating nursing homes, who will “provide preventatives services as well as improve assessments and management of medical conditions”. (That is, why the hell is that patient not getting enough to drink, or is developing pressure sores?, what the hell are you going to do about it?). Care will be monitored, with the central aim being to identify problems early-on – preventative care is far cheaper than emergency services.

Outcomes will be monitored using external evaluators.

This initiative follows on research showing that 45% of all hospitalizations among the most chronically ill elderly are avoidable. This represents a huge expenditure, as according to CMS estimates, avoidable hospitalizations cost between $7 and $8 billion a year.

In an age of budget constraint, such savings are significant.

Not allowing the elderly to reach a stage that requires emergency treatment is also humane.

Could such an initiative be copied in Britain?

After all, all recent changes in care have been modelled on the American ‘care for profit system’, with some doners to the Conservative Party doing very well out of such ‘marketisation’ of care.

If a system is copied, is it not logical that initiatives to prevent system failure are also copied?


Can you imagine any of the large companies feeding off the care industry willingly allowing care monitoring staff into their facilities. (The banks’ facilities, really, as they lent the acquisition money to the companies).

It would be like a thief inviting a detective for supper.

Would they be made to comply? Not likely.

For the large companies involved in all aspect of care in Britain are the ‘pipers’ that call the government tune. All political parties in modern times have danced to it, and have accepted money for their performance.

Jeremy Corbyn may talk about making energy prices and rail fares cheaper through nationalisation, which will appeal to many people; he may talk about curtailing the economic assault on the most vulnerable; but in this category is it not morally right to include the vulnerable who have been committed to the penny-pinching mercies of nursing home operators?

I challenge Jeremy Corbyn and Heidi Alexander to say why all government funded care of the elderly should not be nationalised, and heavily monitored, as in the CMS system.

This would make economic as well as moral sense.

But to whose tune will they dance?

lenin nightingale 2015



I predict that many disabled children in the UK will end up in all-ages nursing facilities. This will be like going back in time to the whitewashed wall of Bedlam, which looked good on the outside, but inside it was a living hell.

It was a place for all sorts, a prison for those that posed a threat to the social order, the ‘sick, aged, bedridden, diseased, travellers, disabled soldiers, the poor,the homeless, young and old.

A description of Britsh values of this time is found in the Report From The Committee On Madhouses In England, 1815 AD, Testimony of A. Mr. E. Wakefield: “Have you visited Bethlem? I have, frequently; I first visited Bethlem on the 25th of April 1814. What observations did you make? At this first visit, attended by the steward of the Hospital and likewise by a female keeper, we first proceeded to visit the women’s galleries: one of the side rooms contained about ten patients, each chained by one arm or leg to the wall; the chain allowing them merely to stand up by the bench or form fixed to the wall, or to sit down on it. The nakedness of each patient was covered by a blanket-gown only; the blanket-gown is a blanket formed something like a dressing-gown, with nothing to fasten it with in front; this constitutes the whole covering; the feet even were naked. One female in this side room, thus chained, was an object remarkably striking; she mentioned her maiden and married names, and stated that she had been a teacher of languages; the keepers described her as a very accomplished lady, mistress of many languages, and corroborated her account of herself. The Committee can hardly imagine a human being in a more degraded and brutalizing situation than that in which I found this female, who held a coherent conversation with us, and was of course fully sensible of the mental and bodily condition of those wretched beings, who, equally without clothing, were closely chained to the same wall with herself. … Many of these unfortunate women were locked up in their cells, naked and chained on straw, with only one blanket for a covering.”


Whilst looking at some of the bed-lying patients, a man arose naked from his bed, and had deliberately and quietly walked a few paces from his cell door along the gallery; he was instantly seized by the keepers, thrown into his bed, and leg-locked, without enquiry or observation: chains are universally substituted for the strait-waistcoat. In the men’s wing were about 75 or 76 patients, with two keepers and an assistant, and about the same number of patients on the women’s side; the patients were in no way distinguished from each other as to disease, than as those who are not walking about or chained in the side rooms, were lying stark naked upon straw on their bedsteads, each in a separate cell, with a single blanket or rug, in which the patient usually lay huddled up, as if impatient of cold, and generally chained to the bed-place in the shape of a trough; about one-fifth were in this state, or chained in the side rooms.”


Of course, such an extreme example of cruelty, and the miserly resources devoted to the weak and helpless, is not repeated in the Nirvana which is America, and theexperience of Bedlam has little relevance to ‘Florida’s apparent inclination to herd helpless kids into geriatric nursing’ homes (which) ‘is not only a violation of federal law, but also leads to the unnecessary ruin of families and can be an impediment to developmental progress. … “From my perspective, what they’re doing is almost like a legalized genocide,” said Leslie Conway of Plant City. “They look at my son and say, ‘He’s of no value or worth to us, therefore we’re not going to spend a lot of time or money helping him'(, September, 2012)

This report highlights: Parents are made to appear before medical panels every six months to justify the need for nurses, medical supplies or life-saving prescriptions.

More and more, they say in-home nursing care is being eliminated. That forces parents to make a chilling decision: either quit their jobs and devote their entire lives to being amateur caregivers, or institutionalize their child.

Conway’s son Josiah was born with Down syndrome and a faulty heart. Complications from heart surgery at 8 months old severely impacted airways in his throat, and he is in constant danger of asphyxiation. Frantic calls to 911 to report Josiah was unable to breathe soon became part of the family routine.

When her son was 7, Conway says, the state notified the family that his in-home care, which had gradually been cut, was going to be eliminated. Pleading her case before a review board, she produced documents from physicians detailing Josiah’s very specific needs.

She said she was told her son’s diagnosis was irrelevant.

The Conways sued, and now get 19 to 22 hours of nursing care a day. Still, they are up for review every six months to justify funds for his unchanging outlook.



The private inurance Nirvana of American capitalism won’t often cover the cost of medical equipment, and in-home nursing and therapy. This leaves many families with only one choice, nursing home care.

“We’re seeing a huge decline in social services in Florida, and we have been for some time,” said Tampa lawyer Peter J. Brudny, who represents a mother whose daughter died shortly after being moved to an all-ages nursing facility.

“More and more children are being warehoused in these geriatric facilities, and it’s a crime. They stay there and just linger in beds with no interaction, no toys, no opportunity to be around other children”.


It is also true that these children are not naked and chained on straw. 75 or 76 of them are not ‘looked after’ by two keepers and an assistant. They do not lay next to disabled soldiers, the poor,the homeless, the mentally unwell. If they wander they are not instantly seized by the keepers, thrown on a bed, and leg-locked.

They, however, share something with the victims of Bedlam. This ‘something’ is very important. In the words of Leslie Conway: “They look at my son and say, ‘He’s of no value or worth to us, therefore we’re not going to spend a lot of time or money helping him”.


And if you are in some dream-world that the modern persecutors of the weak and disabled have a fundamentally different mindset to those that operated Bedlam, or think differently about ‘managing scarce resources’, then the incarceration of disabled children in all-ages nursing facilities will never happen in the UK.

All sing ‘Jerusalem’.

After all, we never copy anything from America, do we?
lenin nightingale 2015


517067_630x35430% of American nursing homes have been cited for neglect, abuse, and death.

I very much expect the true situation in the UK is similar.

The Florida Agency of Health Care Administration believe the true figure is higher because families are unaware that abuse has occurred. Many nursing home patients are unable to communicate the abuse to their loved ones due to embarrassment, dementia, or fear of retribution.

Carol Daniel and John Butler, in an article entitled ‘Lawmaker Pushes for Cameras in Nursing Homes to Prevent Abuse’ (, reported on ‘allegations of rape, physical and verbal abuse, and neglect that filled the pages of Missouri nursing home inspections. The investigation that spanned three years was carried out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid. A state lawmaker contends such abuse is still going on, and he may have a way to combat it. Missouri Rep. Andrew McDaniel has filed a bill to allow the families of nursing home residents to place a video recording device in their room. “You probably hear the horror stories of people following grandma and stuff like that – we don’t want that,” McDaniel says. “We want them people taken care of and hopefully we’ll get rid of them type of people. Other health-care workers, they’re doing their job, they have nothing to worry about.” McDaniel says families have told him of cases of some patients developing bedsores from being left to sit in their own fecal matter.

The Missouri Association of Nursing Home Administrators declined to comment.

Families across America, driven by suspecting abuse or neglect, have turned to hidden cameras, better known as granny cams to identify and record abuse. Not only are elderly patient families resorting to technology to capture evidence, facility managers and law enforcement officials across the country are doing so as well. In addition to recording abuse, the use of video has captured caregivers stealing money, prescription drugs along with violation of appropriate behavior between caregivers.

The laws regarding security cameras vary from state to state. While the public is pushing for legislation that will allow for cameras in a patient’s room, there is strong opposition from the nursing-home industry citing an increase in insurance costs and concerns with resident and employee privacy issues.

Texas, Maryland and New Mexico now have laws that allow nursing home residents or their families to install monitoring cameras in their room. About a dozen state legislatures have granny-cam legislation under consideration. Adopting this legislation will be a positive step towards the prevention of elderly abuse, while providing families access to real time video or recently stored footage.

It is proven that the use of surveillance cameras had deterred crime in public facilities such as shopping malls, hospitals, schools, government buildings, etc. as well as the home.

It is astounding that the same technology is not allowed to protect our most precious asset, our senior citizens.

Daniel and Butler recount the story of a ‘St. Louis-area woman who wishes to remain anonymous says she would have put a camera in her husband’s nursing home room had she known what she knows now – believing it would have saved his life. The woman’s husband died July 28, 2010. “It’s been that long and I still have a problem,” she says. Her husband of 52 years was abused, she says – something she saw first hand during a visit. “A foul odor preceded me opening the door and when I did, there was my husband sitting head down in a room of about 90 degree in temperature because someone had turned off the air,” the woman says, and closed the window. He was hospitalized with bed sores, dehydration, and had to have a blood transfusion.

As to privacy concerns, the woman says cameras are already everywhere in our lives, and anyone who objects to such devices in nursing homes has something to hide‘.

There is strong opposition from the nursing-home industry, who hide the shamless faces behind the mask of ethics. These are the the heavily indebted companies that governments allow to operate private nursing homes, and which cut the number of staff to the bone, and dole out workhouse standard food to their residents.

It is this they have to hide, as well as employing many people who frankly haven’t a caring bone in their body; those devils of care that can not find a job more in keeping with their callous nature, such as feeding Christians to lions.

Make audio-cameras compulsory in UK nursing homes and hospitals.

Nationalise all UK nursing homes.

Manage them from the local district hospital.

The hospital to run a audio-camera monitoring unit, with access by relatives to recordings of their loved ones.

Rotate staff between nursing homes and hospitals.

Instigate draconian punishments for negligent and unkind care.
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