Many of us put our trust in care homes to look after and care for our elderly and vulnerable relatives. We rely on them to treat our relatives with respect as well as protecting them from harm when they need it most. However, recent figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) indicate that the number of serious injuries and deaths occurring in care homes has almost doubled since 2011, which is an extremely worrying statistic.
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Numbers reported have increased every year since 2011, when 23,709 reports were made. In 2018, the number reported was 43,594. These figures have been branded “deeply disturbing” by charities and MPs. Figures submitted for 2019 so far indicate that a further increase on last year’s figures is likely.
Close to 13,000 care homes provided data to the CQC for the purpose of this report and two thirds of these care homes have been rated as ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ by the watchdog. Some of these highly rated care homes reported more than 150 serious injuries over this period. This is of great concern to those of us who rely on care homes to care for our relatives as, even if we do all that we can to check that the care home has a satisfactory quality rating, there are no guarantees that those relatives won’t suffer serious injury or worse. Indeed, it seems there is still a fairly high chance of this occurring based on the shocking figures published by the CQC.
A government green paper on the future of social care has been continually pushed back and is unlikely to be placed back on parliament’s agenda until after Theresa May leaves Downing Street. This means that the most vulnerable members of our society will remain vulnerable and at risk of serious harm for the foreseeable future due to lack of resources and budget cuts in care homes and in social care generally.
Kate Terroni, chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, has said in response to the report: “People, their families and carers, can be confident the vast majority of care homes registered with CQC are providing good, safe care, and where we identify improvements are needed, we find on re-inspection that most services have made these.” But with the number of people living into their eighties and nineties increasing all the time, this epidemic is only going to get worse unless the government take action to provide further safety and protection for the elderly and vulnerable.
We often receive enquiries from family members of vulnerable people who have been seriously injured, or have even died, due to falls, assaults and other accidents which have occurred in care homes. Family members are often in the dark as to the precise circumstances of the injury, which can be very frustrating and saddening for them. If a friend or family member of yours has suffered injury due to negligence or neglect in a care home, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0175 321 6399 for advice.