Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Argyll & Bute CARE PROVIDER CALLS ON SOCIETY TO END ‘PREJUDICE AGAINST OLDER PEOPLE’ AT HOUSE OF LORDS COMMITTEE
Dr Chai Patel CBE FRCP, Chairman of HC-One – the UK’s third largest care home operator, which runs the Kintyre care home in Campbeltown – today gave evidence to the House of Lords calling for a fundamental shift in the way society thinks about social care for the elderly, and the introduction of care ‘navigators’ to help guide the elderly to the support services they need. Dr Chai Patel appeared before the House of Lords Public Service and Demographic Change Select Committee as an expert witness in health and the provision of social care in the community. Giving evidence alongside David Behan, Chief Executive, Care Quality Commission, Dr. Jennifer Dixon, Director, Nuffield Trust and Professor Christ Ham, Chief Executive, The King’s Fund, Dr Patel called on the Government to look at the success of new partnerships being forged between the private sector and charities to deliver kinder care. Dr Chai Patel, Chairman HC-One, said: “One year, one month and eighteen days ago, I became Chairman of HC-One – a company we formed in just 94 days following the collapse of Southern Cross, which threatened to leave thousands of vulnerable elderly people without a home. “Today we care for over 10,000 elderly residents in over 230 homes with a kind and dedicated staff team comprising over 14,000 people. Our goal is to run the kindest care homes in the country. “It is my strong and personally held belief that we have what amounts to a prejudice against older people in this country. This prejudice exists in society at large, and is seen in the public resources and policies affecting older people. We would never treat children as we treat old people in society.” Speaking about the challenges facing the social care funding system, Dr Chai Patel said: “All large systems have barriers in them. It’s the nature of the beast. We need to fundamentally change the attitudes within the system. “Many vulnerable elderly people are unable to make choices and there is nobody expert on their side. We need ‘navigators’ in the social care system to help guide service users and ensure they get the right care, in the right place, at the right time. “Technology can act as a catalyst for change within the system we have now. There are fantastic innovations taking place in nutrition, medication and dementia. There is really interesting work around life history and working with grandchildren. All of these are part of the progressive development of care services. “The independent sector is small, agile and can be pushy so is well placed to find solutions to problems encountered on a daily basis, while we wait for major reforms to come through. Right now HC-One is working with Macmillan to provide training to our staff to assist people in their last weeks of life, therefore easing the burden on the NHS. Partnerships like these are the way forward.” Speaking after the Committee, Chai Patel said: “Their Lordships have important issues to grapple with. I was pleased that HC-One had the opportunity to contribute to their work and I look forward to their report and an on-going debate about how we care for our elderly citizens now and in the future.” Working with Alzheimer’s Society and the Department of Health, HC-One has developed a new training programme to introduce patient centred dementia care treatments which track a patient’s progress and reduce the need for antipsychotic drugs. HC-One’s Touch training program allows care workers to top up their knowledge and gain more expertise through online interactive modules. Innovative ideas like these are part of HC-One’s journey to provide the kindest care.