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Expert calls for an end to media's negative care home reports


A health expert has praised England’s care homes, calling on the media to balance the negativity in its coverage of their work.

Leeds University’s Emeritus Professor of Elderly Care, Graham Mulley, cited a report by the Care Quality Commission which showed 86% of homes that admit residents supported by local councils are “good” or “excellent”.

Just 1% of these homes were rated as “poor” by the survey.

Professor Mulley said this was “a remarkable situation” which had received little media attention.

There are many examples of good practice in nursing homes which help provide residents with a better quality of life, according to the recent Quest for Quality report by the British Geriatrics Society.

But Professor Mulley, who was asked to be a consultant adviser for an undercover television expose of nursing homes, warned that negative reporting risked upsetting staff and relatives of elderly residents.

He said gloomy reports about poor standards of care could also add to feelings of guilt among families when a loved one goes into a home.

He concluded: “Perhaps all of us who witness excellence in care homes - relatives, professionals, and other visitors - should write or tweet positive messages to balance the prevailing nihilism.”


Readers' comments (6)

  • Thankyou for this report, I work in a care home and I can honestly say that the nursing and care for our residents is at a very high standard and the majority of our residents and families agree. Some of these good reports need to be published but it is the age old problem with the press only bad news is published.

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  • The same is true of care homes all across the UK. Very many of them are excellent. But we need to be sure that every old person is looked after properly. If one old person is being badly looked after, it is a scandal. We need to find better ways of making things better than shouting about it and then walking away without having changed anything. Every one of us could do something. We need a movement for change.

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  • "“It’s the BBC: they want help with an exposé of nursing homes.” My secretary transferred the call. The programme producer told me that a care home employee had reported that a culture of poor quality care was going unchecked. The plan was for a journalist to apply for work experience and surreptitiously
    film examples of inadequate care.""
    BMJ 2011; 343:d5391 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d5391 (Published 31 August 2011)
    Cite this as: BMJ 2011; 343:d5391
    Views & Reviews
    Personal View
    Social care homes: what the media forget to tell us
    Graham Mulley, emeritus professor of elderly care, University of Leeds

    Shouldn't there be proper quality controls by a bona fide organisation recognised by the International Standards Agency in place to insure all care meets certain standards instead of what appears an unethical way of highlighting substandard, negligent or abusive care in the way described in the above paragraph which I have quoted from Pro. Mulley's article in the BMJ.

    It is high time the UK pulled their socks up and behaved as normal, civilised, decent adult human beings and cared for the vulnerable to a dignified and correct manner.

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  • should read above '...unethical and underhand way...'

    we are dealing with human lives here of the vulnerable who are often unable to stand up and defend themselves not playing games!

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  • If it is considered that one of the top insurance companies in the country who run hospitals and a chain of old peoples' homes provide good care in appropriately adapted facilities this is a serious delusion of what constitutes professional and adequate care. Take some lessons from old people's and care homes in other parts of Europe where they understand the realities of excellence in care.

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  • Views & Reviews:
    Personal View: Social care homes: what the media forget to tell us
    Graham Mulley
    BMJ 2011;343:doi:10.1136/bmj.d5391 (Published 31 August 2011)
    [Extract] [Full text] [PDF]
    Need for reform
    Patrick B Quail, Medical Leader Home Care
    Alberta Health Services, Calgary ZoneWhat is required is a radical re-think of how services are organized for our older frail patients with significant functional loss and cognitive impairment.

    "Initiatives in the US such as the Eden Alternative , the Green House project movement and the Pioneer Network have all recognized this and have developed models of care based on the so-called 'culture change' movement."

    This will simply never happen in the UK. The British do not have the right caring mentality and are too tight with their purses!

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