CCTV mon­i­tor­ing may be last re­sort to en­sure el­derly get proper care

Bray People - - OPINION -

APART from leav­ing tele­vi­sion view­ers feel­ing pro­foundly shocked, Prime Time’s Aras At­tracta probe last week also left the coun­try feel­ing com­pletely help­less.

The scenes inside Bun­ga­low 3 at the Swin­ford home, cap­tured on un­der­cover video footage, were heart-break­ing in the ex­treme. View­ers were dis­tressed by what they wit­nessed but that was noth­ing, of course, com­pared to what the res­i­dents of the home were put through and for God knows how long. If noth­ing else, RTE has earned its li­cence fee by ex­pos­ing the shock­ing treat­ment ex­pe­ri­enced by th­ese vul­ner­a­ble in­di­vid­u­als.

The feel­ing of help­less­ness watch­ing all this was made keener by the fact the safe­guards put in place by the State had clearly failed th­ese women.The HSE was charged with meet­ing the needs of the Aras At­tracta res­i­dents. But care as­sis­tants were shown to hu­mil­i­ate, ne­glect and man­han­dle their charges in unit three of the Swin­ford care home. This was de­spite the fact that that the health stan­dards watch­dog, HIQA, had in­spected the fa­cil­ity twice pre­vi­ously. It found a num­ber of short­com­ings, but not the abuse un­cov­ered by Prime Time’s in­ves­tiga­tive unit.

In the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the pro­gramme, Min­is­ters Leo Varad­kar and Kath­leen Lynch stated they could not be con­fi­dent such be­hav­iour is not go­ing on in other care homes – not that they could have said oth­er­wise, given the ev­i­dence em­a­nat­ing from Aras At­tracta.

Sadly, the rev­e­la­tions about one par­tic­u­lar home were met with scores of con­cerns about nu­mer­ous oth­ers homes across the State as de­tails of the 430 com­plaints re­ceived by HIQA about nurs­ing homes this year emerged in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the Prime Time broad­cast.

Some of th­ese al­le­ga­tions sug­gest in­di­vid­u­als in other homes faced even greater cru­elty, in some in­stances, than the res­i­dents of Bun­ga­low 3 at Aras At­tracta. Many were made by staff deeply con­cerned at the con­di­tions in which they were forced to work. Com­bined, the com­plaints point to a care sec­tor cul­ture that is deeply an­tag­o­nis­tic of the work of HIQA, with some of the al­le­ga­tions stat­ing var­i­ous homes fal­si­fied doc­u­ments and bumped up staffing lev­els prior to HIQA in­spec­tions.

Min­is­ter Fergus O’Dowd, who ob­tained th­ese de­tails, has said ‘ the wool is be­ing pulled over HIQA’s eyes’. For its part, HIQA says it is ham­pered by the leg­is­la­tion gov­ern­ing its op­er­a­tions from in­ves­ti­gat­ing par­tic­u­lar com­plaints, among other con­cerns it has. One glar­ing ques­tion how­ever, is why on earth care homes re­ceive no­ti­fi­ca­tion about up­com­ing in­spec­tions? More than a fifth of all in­spec­tions in care homes last year were car­ried out after the homes re­ceived prior no­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Mean­while, there ex­ists deep con­fu­sion be­tween agen­cies as to the op­ti­mal pro­ce­dures for polic­ing care in homes, some­thing that surely re­quires root-and-branch re­form of the sec­tor and the safe­guards gov­ern­ing it. And the State should take RTE’s lead at the very least by in­stalling CCTV cam­eras in each and ev­ery cen­tre na­tion­ally to leave staff in no doubt their care is be­ing mon­i­tored very closely in­deed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.