Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Whats it like to be Old?

Spoke to a lovely lady on the train a few day ago on the train back home. She saw my notes and books and asked if I was a medical student. I replied yes and we started to talk. She was a retired social worker and during our discussion she asked "If I ever thought about getting older."

I told her its not something I've really thought about in any great detail, its something I've accepted but I'm quite happy in the knowledge that my best years are still ahead of me

Anyway the discussion turned to the fact that we have an ageing population, bring a whole host of problems. A big one is money. Money means that our elderly are going to spend there last few years stuck in privately run care homes. The majority of the staff who work there will be on minimum wage. Are you going to get the best carers who are happy with there pay for £5.72 an hour? Are you going to get low staff turnover?Especially when people realise that liddle will pay them more?

Why is it acceptable to argue that bankers should be highly paid to get the best people for the job? Using this arguments carers should be paid a whole lot more. Expanding this argument shouldn't carers also get plenty more holidays and bonuses to?

What does it say about us as a society when we ship off our elderly to a care home where success is measured by profit margins and not by the levels of care provided?


  1. Hello Fuddled Medic'

    I write, perhaps, as the lone care home nurse in blogland. It is not all bad. It is not all profit related. Scattered around care land, there are excellent homes. I work in one of them. They may be few and far in between. I do not know.

    The CQC state that 24% of homes operate on one star or less. Why do they allow this? Why are not star ratings a requirement on the front entrance? Why do visiting professionals not threaten a home wih the CQC if bad practice is apparent?

    The above aside, why not look at the finances? In the home that I work in, the weekly wage bill is at least £13,050 +, plus employers NI contributions. There are utilities, insurances, rentals - laundry equipment, photocopiers, etc., registration fees, contingencies, etc., etc.

    It is a single private home. It pays and treats its nurses and carers well. As a result, it has a happy, contented and appreciated staff. It is a kind, caring home and I am proud to work there.

    In the past month, four residents have sadly passed away. All 95+ and have succumbed to RTIs, despite AB therapy. At this time of year, due to SS budgets, it is unlikely their places will be filled until April.

    Financially - to the home - it is a daily loss in fees, equivalent to the weekly wage bill. Profit margins are precarious.

    I would love to have a home of my own, but if an independent, it is not worth the risk.

    I have worked in five homes. Three being national organisations, which ARE profit orientated. Two private - one, where I work now and have for many years. The other was owned by a hospital consultant and was the meanest home I have ever worked in. Staff were not paid enhanced rates for bank holidays, residents were fed out of date meat, and residents personal accounts were pilfered to pay for televisions, etc. It was eventually closed down by the JIU as it was then.

    I am much nearer pensionable age than I am not. But given the choice, I would rather be in a home, even if a profit orientated multi-national than a hospital ward. For if I sneezed twice in a care home, I would not be put on the LCP, but on experience of our dear residents, I would be if in hospital!

  2. Sorry - innacuarate reporting. The loss of fees is slightly above the WEEKLY wage bills.

  3. Nikita, you are right about residents being kept out of hospital. Hospitals are even more frightening, especially when alot of elderly are nicely settled in and hopefully happy where they are.

    It is possible, as witnessed by yourself and many others, to have a fantastic home with dedicated staff - its just alot harder when staff are underpaid and underappreciated

  4. You are going to make a good doctor Fuddled medic

    Sam :-)