An enquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into the home care system in England has stated that poor treatment of many older people is breaching their human rights, and too many people are struggling to voice their concerns about their care.
The final report of the Commission’s inquiry, ‘Close to home: Older people and human rights in home care’, says hundreds of thousands of older people lack protection under the Human Rights Act, and calls for this legal loophole to be closed.
The report questions commissioning practices that focus on a list of tasks, rather than what older people want, and that give more weight to cost than to an acceptable quality of care.
It should be noted that half of the older people who gave evidence to the inquiry expressed satisfaction with their home care. However, the inquiry also revealed many examples of older people’s human rights being breached, including physical or financial abuse, disregarding their privacy and dignity, failing to support them with eating or drinking and paying little attention to what they want.
Around one in three local authorities have cut back on home care spending and a further one in five planned to do so within the next 12 months.