• Who We Are

    wHO wE are

    The Relatives & Residents Association exists for older people needing, or living in, residential care and the families and friends left behind at home.

  • What We Do

    WHAT WE DO

    We are here to support and inform residents, families and friends to find out all they need to know about residential care and to help them if things go wrong. Additionally, we speak out on behalf of a sector who cannot always speak out for themselves.

  • Helpline

    our helpline

    We offer information, comfort and support via a daily helpline. We take the time to listen and give whatever support is needed.

  • Influencing Policy & Influence

    influencing policy & practice

    We take note of your concerns and relay them to the people who can make changes. We send out potent messages and push for improvements for the benefit of vulnerable older people in care.

12 February 2015


SECRET CAMERAS ARE NOT THE ANSWER

 

 

The following is a statement by Judy Downey, Chair of the R&RA, in response to the CQC's latest guidance here published today, on the use of hidden cameras in care homes:

 

"The Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA) is generally against the use of secret cameras by the regulator or anyone else and think it's inappropriate as a substitute for proper supervision. We also know that where they have been used by our clients, it was usually because they got no response or action from the provider, the regulator or the local authority and sometimes, all three, where abuse or neglect was suspected. Cameras are no substitute for more rigorous and more frequent inspections and better regulation. 

 

It is not good enough that only 11 care homes were closed by the regulator in the last year. This is less than .01% of homes, when CQC's own figures suggest that between 20% and 30% of homes fail important standards. We don't understand why care homes should be inspected less frequently than children's homes. CQC must be open to receiving - and acting promptly on - complaints and then following them up and not deflect them elsewhere. They have huge powers to take enforcement action to make a home improve or close down which they need to use more effectively.


What about those residents who have no-one to watch over them or speak up for them? There are many thousands with no kith or kin as well as an equal amount who have families and friends too far away or too disabled or disconnected to be in touch. This could amount to 30-40,000 older people in care homes.  

 

We cannot rely on undercover surveillance by those with the energy and knowledge to install it. It is no substitute for good quality control by providers. The government should reinstate the old Regulation 26 where providers had to appoint someone independent to visit and report on each of their homes on a monthly basis and report back to the manager, the regulator and the board or partnership on compliance with standards in a number of key areas of care.

 

Care workers already feel disaffected and vulnerable and turnover is too high. We also need to consider the effects of 'undercover' scrutiny on this poorly paid and undervalued workforce. A better approach would be for there to be a plan to train, pay and support care workers better with improved staffing ratios and standards. The government talks about ratios for nurses but avoids making similar statements about care workers.

 

If CCTV is to be used, except in dire circumstances, it should be with the knowledge and consent of all parties: managers, staff and residents. It can then be used to sample care practice and for training, as well as to give praise and encourage good practice openly and fairly."



25 January 2015

Still auctioning off older people

Another authority, this time Kent County Council, has been reported to be using the ‘eBay’ style bidding system to find care placements for vulnerable older people.  Back in August last year the Guardian revealed Birmingham City Council’s use of this system and that Matrix SCM was the company promoting and selling the software to councils.  According to their marketing manager they were in talks with 30 other councils about using the system. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/27/councils-care-contracts-online-auctions

Auctioning off older people’s care in this way is, like ‘bed-blocking’, reducing older people’s experiences to a mechanistic approach.  Not only does it ignore the need for personal contact with care home staff, it reduces people to little more than a catalogue of disabilities and vulnerabilities.

This increase in cost driven auctions of care home placements by local councils challenges the current mantras about focusing on the individual. It also makes a nonsense of genuine choice and consultation.  Instead of placing the older person at the centre of their care it introduces a dehumanising process which could result in poor and dangerous placements for older care home residents.

This system of allocating ‘care’ could result in someone being placed far away from family and friends.  It could also lead to devastating isolation and loneliness and clearly highlights an institutional failure to put the needs of the older person first.  It may well also be in breach of the person’s human rights and their need to maintain family relationships.

 John Lister, of the campaign group Health Emergency, condemned the system in the Guardian: "Local authority care budgets have already been slashed to the bone, there's nothing left to cut. This system is auctionyourgranny.com, it's a race to the bottom," he said.

The R&RA has become increasingly worried about this new auction style system taking hold and being used by more and more councils.  At a time when ‘person centred care’ is the buzz word in social care, older people continue to get a raw deal and are now being treated as little more than commodities to be traded on auction sites.

 

Our Campaigns and Projects

  • CQC Not Working CampaignIS CQC WORKING?

    Time running out for older people at risk in care

    The Relatives & Residents Association is calling on the government to make urgent changes to the Care Quality Commission – the body responsible for regulating care homes for older people. We want to see a complete change in he way this organisation works and protects older people in care homes.

  • CARE HOME ACCOUNTABILITYCARE HOME ACCOUNTABILITY

    call FOR Government to make providers accountable

    We want to see new regulations which will ensure that organisations pay sufficient attention to the safety and welfare of their residents. We also want to see registrations which will ensure that owners and managers can no longer absolve themselves when failures occur.

  • Tell Us About Your Care Home

    TELL US ABOUT YOUR CARE HOME

    We are working with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to help relatives' voices to be heard. We are looking at how calls to our helpline can inform CQC and help them protect residents. During the pilot, anyone contacting us who is worried about quality of care will have their information passed immediately to CQC. In turn, CQC will update us with any action they take.