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Staffing crisis leaves many English care home residents’ basic needs unmet

Thousands of vulnerable people are suffering inadequate care as severe staffing shortages in previously good care homes push operators to break rules and put residents at risk.

A wave of inspections has revealed the human impact of a worsening nationwide staffing crisis, with people being left in their rooms 24 hours a day, denied showers for over a week, enduring assaults from fellow residents, and left soaking in their own urine.

Stretched staff have described scrambling to help residents with buzzers going off and fear the squeeze on their time is dangerous.

Analysis by the Guardian revealed that staff shortages were identified as a key problem in three-quarters of all the care homes in England where the Care Quality Commission regulator had cut their rating from “good” before Covid-19 to “inadequate” this summer.

A further 10% of homes whose rankings slumped had enough staff, but failed to recruit safely, either not taking references properly, carrying out criminal records checks, or training staff adequately.

Families said the staffing shortages had reached “crisis point”.

“Older people are paying a heavy price for these failings, as poor care robs them of their dignity, breaks their will and makes them feel unsafe in their own home,” said Helen Wildbore, director of the Relatives and Residents Association. “Older people need much more than empty slogans from the next prime minister about ‘fixing social care’.”

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Source: The Guardian, 21 August 2022


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