Hard to believe we are already into the second quarter of 2023 and perhaps it’s the aging process that continues to remind me as to just how much we all as individuals fiercely value our independence, our freedom to make our own choices, our state of wellness over illness and our love of home and family.

It is for those reasons that CCFTV continues to exist and to make every year more successful than the one that has gone before. We know – as do many care providers – that care home life for many vulnerable people is a second choice. Most would prefer to live in their own home.

But as their lives fragment, often as a result of progressive dementia and many of the above features are lost, living in a care home is regularly the only choice. The handover by family to a care home is often a traumatic experience as many have been the older persons primary carer up to that point. Sadly, it is after this handover that families can often feel excluded from the process of caring for that parent or grandparent, simply as a result of the institutionalisation that living in a large care facility often creates. Some of the values mentioned above are quickly lost entirely whilst others are lost over time, being replaced with routines and timetables that suit the care facility as opposed to the individual person.

CCFTV has been calling for much greater transparency for families and other stakeholders for very many years. The pandemic regulations accelerated a welfare decline for very many older people living in homes and the accompanying embargoes on visiting-removed a level of independent supervision that was intermittent at best, even before the Covid outbreak. That period demonstrated beyond any doubt whatsoever as to just how valuable independent monitoring would have been, had widespread use been mandated. Instead, older people died suddenly and without explanation, with no companion or family member and often having notably and quickly declined in appearance and well-being.

In 2022 we noted the ever-increasing frequency of safeguarding referrals, with unexplained injury to older people living in care homes anecdotally appearing as a material contributor to overall safeguarding numbers. It is beyond our comprehension that all industry stakeholders continue to accept that as a plausible explanation for family members and others. In what scenario is it ever reasonable to find a loved one with bruising and injuries but express it as an unexplained injury and the expecting the family not to be angry or upset ??

We have also noted little or no decline in the numbers of homes being reported as inadequate, or the incidence of possible abuse and mistreatment. It is for all these reasons that CCFTV will continue to work with the sector in the hope that all interested parties will in time, reach a conclusion that independent safety monitoring is actually the answer to many of these issues.

Our Social Care round table events with care providers, safeguarding experts, provider representative bodies, specialist lawyers and safety monitoring companies have created an environment where the topic of independent safety monitoring can be fully debated with many misunderstandings debunked.

Our macro-objectives continue to be;

  • Mandatory use of safety monitoring in care homes
  • Ending unfair and revenge resident evictions from care homes
  • Encouraging care providers to use an advocacy service when in dispute with families
  • Availability of funding support for campaigning organisations such as CCFTV

CCFTV will continue to work with care providers and the regulator in an effort to achieve our goals. Whilst accepting that in 10 years of campaigning, progress has been minimal with Safety Monitoring in particular, it is nevertheless our belief that the adoption of such systems could be a ‘silver bullet’ that would lay to rest many of the age-old issues around abuse, negligence, poor standards and unexplained injury. The reluctance of many stakeholders including DOLS teams, Care Providers and Regulators to embrace monitoringhas ensured no change to abuse frequencies, to hidden camera exposes, to safeguarding incidence, to conflicts with families and only enabled some staff to continue their abusive practices unchecked.

CCFTV will continue to call out failure at all levels in an effort to really bring sector transparency that can only result in a much better experience for the older people living in those care environments.

Looking back on our ten years, CCFTV has become a voice for residents and families who have concerns about care. We have represented so very many vulnerable people and assisted them to resolve disputes with care providers and to achieve justice when their serious concerns were dismissed. However, it should not have to be a battle on every occasion.

It really is time the sector proactively embraced independent daily/weekly/monthly review that can confirm to service users and families that care is consistently and sustainably of a high standard. The regulator should not be one that is reactive to a serious incident but have systems in place that provide red flag alerts that a service is breaking down and needs intensive support.

It is our conviction for older peoples welfare that will ensure we continue campaigning for these changes until such times as they are commonplace.