Which? describes standard of care for elderly as 'disgraceful'
Which? describes standard of care for elderly as 'disgraceful' Reuters

The standard of care provided for elderly people in their homes has been labelled disgraceful in a report by consumer group Which?

The report reveals cases of elderly people left alone in the dark, vital medication not been handed out and people left in soiled beds following missed visits.

Which? asked 30 elderly people or their families to keep a diary over the course of a week in January to record their experiences of home care, also known as domiciliary care, by paid workers.

The diaries reveal that one woman was left alone in the dark for hours without food or drink, a diabetic who did not receive his insulin on time and another woman left without a walking frame, leaving her unable to get to the bathroom.

One unnamed daughter told the consumer group: '"They [the agency] missed a day just after Christmas. They incorrectly entered into the database the days we didn't need care.

"I covered, but Mum didn't contact me until early evening, by which time she needed a lot of cleaning up.

"You wonder about the elderly with no relatives."

Another daughter spoke to the watchdog after her mother was left alone in the dark, unable to reach her food or drink

"I can't express how angry I feel at the carers. Mum tried to phone me, but she couldn't see, misdialled and got instead a kind man.

"He was so distressed at mum's distress he rang the police, thinking that mum had fallen."

"I say to the police, the only way to make sure your loved one is cared for and safe is to watch over them 24 hours a day and never have home or residential care."

The poll of 926 people revealed that one of the most common complaints was missed or rushed visits. There were 47 percent of respondents who said visits had been missed in the last six months, with no advance warning for 62 percent of them.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Our undercover investigation found some disgraceful examples of care, with elderly people being given little time or respect.

"The government can no longer claim to be shocked, as report after report highlights the pitiful state of care for older people.

"If they are serious about ensuring vulnerable people are treated with dignity, then we must see real action, because every day they delay is another day older people risk being neglected."