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Thoughts on 'Inside the Care Crisis'

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

by Maya Hay, R&D Researcher, Safe As Houses

The BBC’s ‘Inside the Care Crisis’ is a touching and insightful documentary, presented by Ed Balls, The programme discusses the current care crisis that is heightened by the ongoing pandemic.

Ed Balls, former politician, and shadow Chancellor, accepts a hands-on role in Saint Cecilia's Nursing Home in Scarborough, where he questions what more can be done to solve the current care crisis.

Saint Cecilia's is a pretty typical medium-sized nursing home with four sites, 60 employees and 44 residents funded privately and by Local Authorities. Ed challenges himself to master providing personal care and to better understand what pressures the home faces. He tends to the needs of the most vulnerable while meeting carers and workers across the sector.

Of all the values, dignity is imperative to care provision and is the building block to solving the care crisis.

Following the lead of Saint Cecilia's professional carers, he treats residents with dignity. Of all the values, dignity is imperative to care provision and is the building block to solving the care crisis. Providing adequate accommodation is the foundation to providing vulnerable people with dignified care.

As Safe as House Care, dignity is at the heart of our ethical business model, and it is both humbling and gratifying to see Ed take on providing personal care in the genuinely compassionate way in which he does. His feet barely touch the ground due to the fast-paced work environment and he admits to underestimating the hard and heavy physical work of carers. Interviews with some carers clearly demonstrate that they do not receive the credit they deserve for their complex and never-ending work.

"Their labour is fast paced, physically draining and astonishingly underpaid."

Their labour is fast paced, physically draining and astonishingly underpaid. The documentary emphasises the need for society to recognise the significance of the role of carers and how challenging circumstances continue to be for them during the pandemic.

Looking at the adult health care crisis, Ed reminisces on his time as a Government minister- Owning up to perhaps not doing enough. While part of the care crisis lies within the Government's remit and responsibility, the private sector plays a significant and growing role. This is where entrants such as Safe As Houses come into the picture.

Discussions raised during the documentary highlight the gap that Safe As Houses can fill to improving adult social care accommodation within the UK. As an example, Ed meets a resident who is clearly not receiving appropriate care for his needs. It may be everyone's human right to receive the standard of social care they require, however, this individual cannot afford the care he desperately needs and suffers because of inadequate care.

Care often happens in people's own homes. The program states that the Government seems to prefer this model as it costs less money. However, surely people's standard of living and prioritising their needs should be weighted far more greatly than saving money?

The difference between care homes and care at home is that there is no clinical support on shift. A million people are being cared for at home across the UK. For some, this is their best option, and for others, there is a complete lack of choice. Some people cannot be cared for at home, so there needs to be an efficient and sustainable housing to support these vulnerable individuals.

In Liverpool, Ed visits a charity called Caring Connections. It is 1 of 10,000 agencies that provide care in people's homes. His second home care visit is to a person with complex needs. As he visits people receiving care in their homes, I think about the housing for these people- noticing clearly that there are ways that their accommodation can be far better suited to their needs.

Some of the visits highlight those individuals receiving care cannot properly maintain their accommodation. Ed asks this individual why he is receiving care at home. He replies that "He is too young to qualify for residential care". Highlighting a distinct lack of choice for this person who is entitled to a better quality of life.

"a wide range of appropriate accommodation across the UK is vital to meeting the needs of the vulnerable in society"

One particular resident in St Celia's nursing home does not have any medical needs. However, she fell and had to go to hospital. After leaving, she received funding from the local authority to live in St Celia's nursing home - although, when a more fitting placement more became available, she was encouraged to leave, causing her unnecessary distress. This is one small example of why having a wide range of appropriate accommodation across the UK is vital to meeting the needs of the vulnerable in society. If the appropriate social housing was available, she would have been moved straight into residential care from a hospital instead of a nursing home.

This resident is now settled in St Celia's and is now a permanent resident. However, the home is losing money as the council refused to pay the cost of her care. It was heart-warming to see that what mattered most to St Celia's was that she is happy and safe. Money was a secondary consideration and they are putting morals over expenditure to ensure she stays this way. At the end of the day – one thing remains constant – Human beings going above and beyond, is utterly essential when meeting today’s needs for society's most vulnerable.


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