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Imagine lying cosy in the safety of your care home bed, snoozing on after a lengthy night shift, only to be called to wakefulness and a start of morning routines, by music – not of your choice and played VERY LOUDLY. This is the scandalous scenario reported from a care home in Norfolk: Norfolk care home accused of waking residents with loud music to save money | Care workers | The Guardian

There seems to be no doubt that this is a true account of life – it is not denied – but explanations offered tell us how stretched this and other care homes feel with lack of staff and budgets which make recruitment extremely difficult.

The average time which residents spend in bed across the board is of the order of eleven hours out of the twenty-four. Time spent in bed at night by care-home residents: choice or compromise? | Ageing & Society | Cambridge Core

This contrasts with advice that optimum time in bed, in sleep, is of the order of 7-8 hours in twenty four. Why We Sleep - Wikipedia

Convenience for care home managers is that when residents are in bed, and supervised by the night shift, staffing rations are lower than at other times, and you know fairly certainly, where everyone is. So a first scandal is too much time allocated to bed. Second scandal is that residents may be woken in a less than respectful way. Loud music at dawn was the system of reveille by a bugle, used by the armed forces in the time of war – and maybe ever since. Useful, effective, brutal and hardly appropriate for frail older people in their final years.

Further insight into the world of care comes from reference to the exploitation of staff recruited from other countries and paid very low wages – so low that local people are reluctant to take up the challenge, even though some would love to work in care rather than an office, a supermarket or factory. Foreign care workers invited to UK ‘exploited on grand scale’, says union | Social care | The Guardian

The late and wonderful Gerry Robinson struggled to counter the difficulties of giving care to people with dementia: Can Gerry Robinson fix care homes? Using only his outrage and a bucketload of TV trickery? | Long-term care | The Guardian

But it could be done – as he had demonstrated in his project to save the NHS in Rotherham Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS? - Wikipedia

First thing is to take note of the warning signs. Next is to marshal resources to correct the problem. Simple.


Each week we post a blog from David Jolley where he shares his personal views on relevant subjects.

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