"Care home staff 'abused elderly': six arrests made
A former matron and five nurses who worked for a care home have been arrested over 'serious allegations' of mistreatment and neglect of 'very vulnerable' elderly residents."
You may remember I was writing about the importance of recognising that all, including disabled people, should be treated with respect (Do not resuscitate) and valued as persons. The Telegraph report illustrates the danger of abuse of the vulnerable, even in places where they are meant to be cared for. The nursing home in question specialises in caring for severe Alzheimer's sufferers, who are, in my view, in the front line for abuse - which, at its extreme, includes euthanasia.
"Chief Superintendent Richard Bayly, from Lancaster Constabulary, said the 'serious allegations' involved 'very vulnerable, elderly residents' and regarded 'a significant number of cases'.
"He said: 'These arrests are a culmination of a thorough investigation into serious allegations of mistreatment of residents at Hillcroft Slyne nursing home.
"'The inquiry is complicated and we have a team of specialist detectives working on this case who are also offering support to those families who may have had loved ones identified as being allegedly mistreated.'
"In May, Lancashire County Council's social care department made police aware of a complaint they had received about the level of care provided to some residents at the home."
After my "Do not resuscitate" post, a severely disabled friend wrote to me about her own experience
"I've been ill for most of the time for the last 3 years, and have spent all too much time in hospital. The last time was in July 2012, and I came across a nurse with a sickly sweet voice, but who bullied me mercilessly. She knew that if I swallowed tablets by mouth I would retch and/or be sick, but refused to use the canula, which had been put in (with much difficulty) on doctors' orders only the previous day. She shouted at me, and refused to use the canula. I became quite afraid of her. I phoned my carer and he came immediately. He managed to put her in her place while remaining entirely polite and calm, but it was a very unpleasant experience. It made me think of the terrible predicament of those who have no one to stand up for them, or who cannot communicate, or are very elderly, perhaps with dementia. It is such a scary situation for all of us."
My friend is a lovely person who struggles with multiple disabling conditions with amazingly good grace. Yet even for her the sense of helplessness faced with insensitive caring was enough to scare her, and clearly not everyone is fortunate enough to have a competent advocate to call on in time of crisis. As a country, we really must heed the warning signs of a trend, despite Paralympic euphoria, of diminishing our regard for the disabled. Just over a month ago, there was great optimism that an irreversible change of attitude had taken place. If we are not vigilant, it will be more than reversed: disabled new borns and vulnerable elderly will be regarded as legitimately disposable. Then we will have entered a morally bankrupt "brave new world".