Care crisis putting lives of elderly in danger, says MP

MP Gloria De Piero with worried Pauline Bray and her elderly mums sister, Cath Drabble.
MP Gloria De Piero with worried Pauline Bray and her elderly mums sister, Cath Drabble.

More and more elderly people are being put in danger because they can’t get the care they need, claims Ashfield’s MP, Gloria De Piero.

Now Ms De Piero is demanding urgent by the government to address what she describes as “a growing social care crisis” in her constituency.

The Labour MP said many Ashfield residents were at their wits’ end, trying to secure appropriate care for elderly relatives. She cited the examples of a 101-year-old woman from Selston and a bed-bound, diabetic pensioner from Sutton, both of whom have been refused care-home places by Nottinghamshire County Council. But perhaps the most alarming case was that of 79-year-old Sheila Jones, who has dementia and heart failure, and suffers from seizures, meaning she cannot even carry out simple tasks, such as eating, dressing and going to the toilet, by herself.

Sheila has been staying at Kingfisher Court care home in Sutton, but now the council say she is fit to go back home, leaving her daughter, Pauline Bray, of Skegby, and her sister, Cath Drabble, worried about her future.

“Mum’s life is in danger if she is sent home,” said Pauline. “She can’t live by herself because she doesn’t remember how to. She needs 24/7 care and must be watched over. I can’t be there all the time.”

Ms De Piero has asked the council to think again after it budgeted an extra £14.8 million for social care this year. But most of all, she wants the government to produce a plan that halts its policy of cuts.

“I am being contacted by people every week who are desperate for help because their relatives are denied the care they need,” she said. “It is unacceptable that they are in this position, and it is disgraceful that the government has no long-term plan to address it. We need adequate funding so that our elderly are looked after properly.”

Sue Batty, adult social care director for the council, promised to look at all concerns raised, but added: “Most residents tell us they would prefer to remain at home as they get older, and we support local older residents to do this wherever possible.

“There is a range of support now available for older people to allow them to stay at home safely while meeting their care needs. This includes care and support from homecare workers and assistive technology that alerts a 24-hour homecare urgent response team if there is a problem.

“We carry out full assessments to decide whether a person is able to remain at home safely and offer short-term assessment beds in the council’s care homes or in extra care apartments. Here, specialist therapists assess their abilities if family members are concerned about their relative’s safety and wellbeing at home.

“The council currently supports around 2,300 older residents to live in a residential or nursing care home who are not able to remain at home.

“While it is not appropriate for us to discuss details on individual cases, we look into all concerns raised with us relating to a resident’s care and support needs.”