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Today's guidance from the CQC on hidden fliming of care of vulnerable relatives

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I just saw this on the news, it does look as though it might help reduce the appalling incidents we have seen just recently.

 

I understand that a lot of the care homes have poor training and wages, but I am very concerned that the carers themselves are this way inclined ! Perhaps they should be more thorough in their hiring processes.


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Hi CB. My mother is in a care home and luckily the people seem to be lovely. I think one of the problems is that carers aren't particularly well paid and the turnover seems to be high.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I think it is absolutely essential that care home residents and their families should feel totally confident to record the treatment dealt out behind closed doors, if they so wish.

 

Both my mother and one of my sisters now reside in the same (dementia-specialist) care home. Recently, three employees of that care home were convicted of appalling treatment – entirely on the strength of extensive covert camera footage organised in a resident's bedroom by her family.

 

I know how extremely grateful my own family and I are for the surveillance that other family undertook.

 

It is in the nature of such cases that such surveillance will most likely be covert, I suggest: to avoid the risk of victimisation and to make sure that the culprits and their behaviour are fully and unarguably 'nailed'.

 

After much delay, the CQC has finally divulged its commentary on this type of activity. It's a step in the right direction, perhaps, but in many ways it is still, painfully, sitting on the fence.

 

For instance, while it emphasises that the CQC will indeed evaluate covertly-recoded evidence - which is certainly a very important point of principle - it continues to say that residents\families should 'think about staff privacy' before recording, and also says that service-providers may have contractual terms trying to forbid such surveillance.

 

In my view, this is clutter-minded and\or devious nonsense lacking any coherent legal basis. Looking after the public is not a private job, and, in any event, no criminal deserves such consideration. (And if you are not a brutal thug you have nothing to worry about.)

 

HB has alertly spotted the CQC's own website post (the full guidance is available via that link, is only 11 large-print pages long, and takes only a few miutes to glance through).

 

Here are a couple of today's media links to add to that:-

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31424424

 

http://www.itv.com/news/story/2015-02-12/watchdog-issues-guidance-on-hidden-cameras-in-care-homes/

 

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Hello NL. I'm so sorry to hear about the treatment of residents in your loved ones' home if I've understood, it just shouldn't be allowed to happen.#

 

It's a shame that you aren't reassured by this new publication and I completely understand your worry. My mother also has dementia which adds to the complications because you never know what they will remember. My mother's particular dementia also means that if she doesn't know the answer to a question like 'What did you do this week?' or 'What did you have for lunch?' she will invent it.

 

I can see why people would resort to cameras.

 

I hope you and your family continue to cope with all of this. I'm thinking of you all.

 

HB :)


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Many thanks for your good wishes, HB. Appreciated. And best of luck with your Ma. Sometimes it can be agonising (and draining).

 

You may readily imagine that certain bitter ironies were not lost on me when we were invited to a 'relatives meeting' at the care home in question, and the story began to unfold. I had been pontificating about the merits of recording one's care for a good while, and this happened in my relatives' home, right under my nose, as it were. Difficult to avoid the guilt trip.

 

The truth is, however, that abuse can be virtually impossible to spot as a mere 'visitor' to a care home, no matter how frequent (and random) the visiting. My sister, alas, lost nearly all power of communication quite a while ago, and my mother's type of dementia adds (manifest) hallucination to what was always a 'colourful imagination'.

 

In the absence of evidence of physical harm, we just didn't know what was happening.

 

The CQC has laboured hard to give birth to the two sets of advice now promulgated: one for 'service-providers', one for 'service-users'. Both documents have severe limitations, in my view. If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, the service-user version, in particular, is a blind and hobbled dromedary in a daydream. But onwards and upwards. Let's hope they are the first steps on the road to better.

 

Meanwhile, if I am, ever, remotely, in doubt about my relatives' care, I will shoot (the footage) first, and ask questions later.

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[the CQC] continues to say that residents\families should 'think about staff privacy' before recording, and also says that service-providers may have contractual terms trying to forbid such surveillance.

 

In my view, this is clutter-minded and\or devious nonsense lacking any coherent legal basis.

 

If service providers have anti-surveillance clauses in their contracts, it begs the question "What do they have to hide ?"

 

If a "carer" is abusing a patient in any way, any "invasion of privacy" or "breach of human rights" went out the window as soon as the abuse started. Protecting the patient must take priority over any contractual or legalese smokescreen.

 

Having had a pair of "carers" attempting to overdose an elderly and vulnerable relative, possibly with fatal consequences, we were in contact with a private investigator with the intention of installing covert surveillance. The intention was to produce recordings of a high enough standard that it would have stood the test in a criminal court if it came to it. Currently, the NHS trust and the CQC are conducting their own investigations and care is being now being provided by another supplier.


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I was disappointed with the CQC guidance. My first course of action if I had any inkling that a vulnerable relative of mine was being ill-treated (probably even before that considering my experience) either verbally or phsically, would be covert surveillance. Bringing issues to the attention of those that should be able to do something about it can (they did in my case with the NHS) put a loved-one at more risk and achieve nothing - no accountability, no reform.

 

Like Nolegion I have absolutely no sympathy or feeling about the staffs' privacy. If they are kind, competent, caring and honest, they really would have nothing to fear from such an intrusion.

 

I would like to know whether a hospital/care home/GP's etc policy on surveillance - asking permission beforehand or banning it completely - can over-ride the law.

 

Footage from covert surveillance has been used to convict as in the Winterbourne View case. I will always remember that the CQC ignored the whistleblower on, I think, two occasions before that worthy person (who had already tried to raise his concerns with the management) went to Panorama. What kind of country do I live in where the media are a more effective regulator than that body (the CQC) paid to do the job?

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Before I forget, here's a link for the "You and Yours" R4 programme of 12 02 15 which includes a short section on cameras in care homes. Andrea Sutcliffe from the CQC ducks the questions in a way which makes it clear she is fully aware of how much the document the CQC has just produced itself evades and misrepresents the legal issues concerned:-

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b051vlpt#auto

 

I also object to her claim - repeated from the guidance' document - that to monitor one's own care by recording how one is treated whenever possible should be considered a 'last resort'. It's a first, and automatic, 'resort' for an increasing number of us which need have nothing to do with any specific incident or series incidents engendering a 'lack of trust'. I have no intention of being deprived of that facility should I ever enter a care home.

 

The more I study the document - the result of enormous expense of time and money - the more of a disgraceful shambles it appears. And Andrea Sutcliffe is the executive at the CQC with the management responsibility for the mess.

 

No doubt at next CQC Board meeting in ten days time, there will be self-congratulations all round for having produced something better than the first few attempts. That would be true but isn't the point: it's still a disgraceful document.

 

The point the immediately preceding post raises about purported 'service provider policy' and the rights of care home residents in their own rooms is probably the most serious central issue that Sutcliffe has deliberately left as a recipe for conflict between families and failing care homes. Under the law as currently stated in the UK, any such conflict can be readily, very readily, argued to be immediately resolvable in favour of the wishes of the residents\their families.

 

The CQC should be championing such 'service users' rights' – that is indeed a core element of its legal duty. Instead, Sutcliffe has patently run away from the issue concerned for fear of upsetting care home companies. In my view, that represents the smug, time-serving, pension-cosseting, gong-hunting, abandonment of the most vulnerable to the cruelties of the worst 'service providers'. I hope the betrayal comes to haunt her.

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I'm hoping that our friend David will once again attend the CQC Board meeting, leave his Nicholas Parsons gentlemanly politeness at the door (it's getting you nowhere David) and shake them untl their teeth rattle....in a metaphorical sense of course.

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I came across this self-congratulatory 'blog' entry the other day, by Andrea Sutcliffe:-

 

http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/cameras-care

 

Frankly, it makes my skin crawl, and it leaves one in no doubt where she stands on the issue: against recording of care.

 

I find her conclusion, in particular, simultaneously flippant and cloying, and about as profound and practical as saying, "If no-one broke the law we wouldn't need gaols."

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I see what you mean, NL. :-/.

 

Thank you for the update though, I see you're on the case.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Last month I bought a WiFi camera for our house and placed it in the downstairs room where my mother lives 24/7, apart from occasional visits to the bathroom or to leave the house on a day centre trip. I bought it for a few reasons; to save me from disturbing mum in the night when I check to see if her feed bottle is still running ok. Whenever mum turns over and unknowingly presses on the feed tube, it can stop the machine and end up dispensing hardly anything. So with the camera I can from the comfort of my own bed upstairs, quickly check on my smartphone and if all is ok I can go to sleep. (2) To check on the house when we are all away. (3) Because I am a tech head!

 

However as of last month a rather unpleasant Pakistani carer saw this camera, and this must have made her angry to the point of making utterly false allegations (lies) of a sexual nature to the Police; her gaze was firmly on the camera all the way across the room as she walked to the next room. I was arrested and I am currently on bail until May with a life threatening charge hanging over my entire family's head, because anything that happens to me will hurt everyone badly. The camera has recorded footage of her visit that evening and this obviously shows nothing untoward happened, but whether the Police will take any notice of this evidence I have no idea. I need to find a good solicitor but have no idea who is worth asking etc.

 

The care company that was appointed to my mum by NHS Continuing Care is run by two Asian people, and only one is allowed to be the manager / director; the other is not allowed due to being a convicted ex-Magistrate judge who committed fraud by taking money from a charity she had set up and used it for her own house! She was later sent to prison for one month and then 100 hours community service. The care company appears to have very little filtering when choosing employees, and mainly employs the roughest, smelliest and most obnoxious, loud and occasionally destructive people. The type of people they send to our house would under normal circumstances, NEVER make it over the threshold and into the house. So having them visit a few times every day is completely soul destroying and a cause of deep depression and anger. After a few months last year, I quickly decided to take full control of my mum's daily care needs. However I am not a trained professional carer and I am therefore unaware of the pitfalls legally. So while in the Police station I became aware of complaints made against me last year, relating to how I help mum to use the commode. Apparently it is inappropriate for a male carer to undress and assist a female onto the toilet, and yet my mum seems very happy with how I do this and often gives me feedback to help me do it just right. Anyway I have constantly been told by hospital staff and district nurses, that I am doing an amazing job and that my mum who nearly died in 2013 and weighed a dangerous 5 stone, well she is now 8 stone and positively glowing. I am VERY proud of what I have achieved for my mum, and yet the system seems to want to punish or obstruct me. I feel like a prisoner in my own home and my mum also is often afraid of the carers; this is due to mental health reasons as well though (NOT Dementia thankfully).

 

So a word of warning to anyone at home with carers who is thinking of installing a camera...

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That's an extraordinary account, Shredder. I see no reason why the camera footage cannot be used as evidence in your defence if the charge relates to a time and place it was recording. That, plus a (formal, written and sworn) witness statement from your mother telling everyone that any suggestion of impropriety is utter nonsense, ought to make the matter go away, I would have thought. But I don't know that much about criminal law, and, as you say, you are going to need a practising criminal lawyer a.s.a.p.

 

I might add that before my mother went into a care home I had to assist her 'in a state of undress' many times, and I am male. So are some of the carers at her care home, who similarly so assist her, on occasion, now.

 

On the wider issue, the CQC Board Meeting this morning merely 'noted' that the information leaflet 'for the public' about cameras in care has now 'at last' been published. There was no discussion or questioning about this from anyone – not even the valiant David. It's a 'done deal' as far as the CQC is concerned - until the deficiences in the document can actually be shown to have been wholly or partly responsible for some hapless vulnerable person's harm. Before the year's out, I would guess.

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Who made the complaints against you last year? Who did they make them to? Were these complaints in writing? I'd be asking to see them. I can't really see that you have any case to answer, but the law is fickle and who knows.... There are plenty of male carers, and nurses for that matter, who undress and assist females in personal hygiene, so what they are saying is complete rubbish. Ask where in law this is stated. Anyway, this is your mother, not some stranger. I cannot believe that the police are even taking this seriously. The camera was in your own home for the good reasons that you have given. It wasn't hidden or trying to catch anyone out - although nobody has ever been prosecuted for covert recording when it's been shown to be in the interests of the victim. The bigger question, for me, is how somebody with a criminal record (no matter that it's for fraud) is even allowed to be associated with care of the vulnerable. The whole thing is outrageous.

 

As for the CQC;s guidance on surveillance, it's always the same. Make it look as if they are interested in listening to a concerned public opinion and then just do what they were going to all along.

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