The Equality and Human Rights Commission Report and the UK Homecare Association

I am sure you have all heard recently in the news about the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report “ Close to home: older people and human rights in home care”. The EHRC’s report highlights a number of frightening examples of homecare in practice. They are frightening because it could be me in that position tomorrow should I have a sudden turn for the worse.

None of us like to think about it but it is a factor that, as we get older, we cannot brush under the proverbial rug. How will we handle it? Who will we turn to?

In this day and age our children are probably not living in the same suburb never mind the same city so we will be relying on a government organization or a Home Care company to look after us. Being at the mercy of strangers does make me nervous especially if I am unable to let anyone know what is wrong.

The UKHCA stands for the United Kingdom Homecare Association and is the national professional association and representative association for organisations who provide care, including nursing care, to people in their own homes. This organization is set to give guidance to independent organisations who could be looking after us. It was set up in 1989 to respond to the many issues arising from the changes in health and social care legislation, which were shaping the future of the sector.

In response to the EHRC’s report they have set up 20 action points to help home care workers promote human rights.  These seem to be quite inclusive referring to the main categories of :

–       Communication and respect

–       Dignity, choice and control

–       Safety and well- being

–       Social inclusion

–       Eating and drinking

It does scare me that these basic points have to be set out in a document to remind a Care worker what human rights are, but I suppose it is better to keep each of these points top of mind.

There are so many wonderful Care workers out there who genuinely want to make an improvement in the lives of their clients. We need to make sure that they are recognized and rewarded for their efforts because the people that it truly impacts are not always able to say ‘Thank you’.

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End of Life Care Strategy – new report

Many of us are reportedly not having our end –of-life-wishes met. This is according to the new report done, three years after the previous governments End of Life Care Strategy. Seven out of ten people who were polled said that they would like to die at home instead of hospital, the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) and the Dying Matters Coalition stated that a major shake-up of end-of-life care is needed. This coalition is calling for the government to enter into discussions about dying and death as the figures from the report state that 59% of people are scared of dying in hospital.

Does this not beg the bigger question of why we are scared to go to hospital? None of us ‘like’ going to the doctors never mind the hospital, but should we not be relieved that a medical professional is taking care of us? Should we not be comforted by the nurses and excellent medical care, we know the food will not be wonderful but that is easily the least of our worries. The need to feel reassured when needing medical assistance regardless of the level is essential. Life is about living and not being scared to go to hospital or that because of our age we will not be listened to or even respected.

Eve Richardson, chief executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition, said: ‘A new deal for people who are dying is needed.’ I vote that a new deal is needed for all older people while they are living.