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Cutting corners on care comes at a cost
10:00am Wednesday 20th March 2013 in Letters
Sir – With sadness I have read about the failures of old folk’s care homes – especially St Katharine’s House in Wantage.
My aunt was very well cared for in the eight years she was there, and, had I not been leaving Wantage to marry my late first husband, had actually been offered a job nursing there myself.
Sadly, it is the Government’s fault that these situations occur; constantly cutting care budgets so that staff are down to a bare minimum, regular inspections down 90 per cent (when I was fostered, I had no idea what time or when my social worker would come, sometimes 8am, sometimes 8pm – thankfully she was always happy with little ones’ state/care), patients are left hungry, thirsty, because no one feeds them, call bells go unanswered, and so it goes on. It shouldn’t happen, ever.
One could advocate volunteer ‘feeders’ but then the problem with choking may occur (each evening while in one hospital, I fed the lady in the next bed – she was totally paralysed. This helped the excellent nurses).
On our geriatric ward, fluid charts were regularly inspected, also charts over the beds had to be marked with amount of fluid and ‘issuing’ nurse, nursing auxiliaries fed those unable (dignity gone already) and care like Winterbourne House would never have occurred – patients with mental disabilities still need their dignity, however difficult (and they can be) they may be.
I would not ever want to return to nursing and, physically, couldn’t do it now. But we had adequate staff who actually cared, rather than low numbers more interested in hitting targets.
The last meal I had at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford was not too bad but at least I was able to eat it myself and get my own drink. Patients’ food was good in my day.
We always gave an early morning cup of tea on all wards – this hasn’t happened for years now. If there are no hot water tea/coffee facilities or no water jugs given, how are patients meant to drink, especially if bedridden? Again, nursing auxiliaries, God bless them.
Until the Government stops cutting budgets, things will never improve, I’m sorry to say.
Dorothy Holloway, Wenrisc Drive, Minster Lovell