Elderly Care Homes Give ‘Concern’ Following 790 Complaints

Poor food and a lack of qualified staff were just some of the hundreds of complaints triggered by old people’s homes, according to a new report. Elderly care homes accounted for most of the complaints upheld by the care sector’s watchdog body.

{mosimage}The Care Commission investigated 792 complaints about old people’s homes in 2005-06 and upheld more than three quarters of them in whole or in part.

The review was based on the findings of more than 55,000 inspections.

OAP care homes accounted for 57% of all the complaints upheld by the commission.

The private sector had the most complaints, with 37% of privately-run elderly care home services having a complaint against them upheld, compared to just 11% of council-run services and 8% in the voluntary sector.

But this could be because councils have their own well-established complaints procedures, resulting in fewer complaints going to the Care Commission.

The findings came in the annual “quality review” of the commission, which considers evidence from the first four years of the its existence to provide what is claimed to be the first comprehensive national picture of care in Scotland. The report said: “In adult services, care homes for older people give us the most significant cause for concern and we have noted there is considerable room for improvement in care homes for people with learning disabilities.”

General health and welfare matters were the most common grounds for complaint, followed by staffing levels.

The report said: “Staff are the single most valuable asset of any care home and the most expensive.

“We found that some care homes are not providing the minimum number of staff required to meet the needs of the people using the service.

“We have also found that services are not varying staffing levels when people’s care needs change or to meet the requirements people have at different times of day or night.”

The report also found there were nearly 6,000 older people across Scotland sharing rooms in care homes.

Jacquie Roberts, chief executive of the commission, said: “For the most part the findings are positive and we have discovered there are thousands of services offering a very high quality of care for service users.

“However, we make no secret of the fact that while there are excellent services out there, there are still many who give us cause for concern.”