Care home and health care staff working with older people should be required to blow the whistle on abuse, MPs and peers said today.
An inquiry by the joint committee on human rights found older people in hospitals and care homes were subjected to poor treatment, neglect, abuse, discrimination and “ill-considered” discharge and eviction.
Ensuring older people are treated with dignity was one of five issues Community Care readers decided we should campaign on, as part of our mission statement. This includes a commitment to exposing poor practice in the way older people are treated in care settings.
The joint committee report said training on human rights was often a “one-off” for care staff, and human rights principles were excluded from the criteria for professional training in codes of practice for social care workers or health professionals.
While calling for “targeted and regular training in human rights principles” for care staff, the committee said this would only go so far in ensuring older people’s rights are upheld.
It said all staff in care homes and NHS should be under a duty to report abuse with protection provided for whistle-blowing and confidentiality.
The committee’s recommendations also included making human rights part of the inspection criteria for the new adult care inspectorate, bringing together the Commission for Social Care Inspection with the Healthcare Commission next year.
Andrew Dismore, chair of the committee, said: “Since it became law seven years ago, the Human Rights Act has become a tick box exercise for lawyers, rather than becoming the lever to improve the delivery of services”.
Essential information on older people