Springhill Home Care Group: Three Care Home Workers at Hillcroft nursing home Guilty over Abuse

Three care workers at Lancashire home care have been found guilty of abusing elderly residents.


The female staff members at Hillcroft nursing home in Slyne-with-Hest near Lancaster mocked, bullied and assaulted residents, Preston Crown Court heard.


A fourth male staff member earlier pleaded guilty to ill-treating the elderly residents.


The defendants told other staff they were bored and were doing it for entertainment, prosecutors said.


Carol Moore, 54, was the team leader of Ripon Avenue, Beaumont, Lancaster, she abused six residents including slapping one.


Tipped out of wheelchair, the abuse went this far, Gemma Pearson, 28, of Hill Street, Carnforth, tipped a resident out of a wheelchair.


Four residents were abused by Katie Cairns, 27, of Riverview Court, Westgate, Morecambe.  She stamps on the foot of one, mocks others by throwing bean bags at them and touching them.


Darren Smith, 34, of Howgill Avenue, Lancaster, had previously pleaded guilty to ill-treating eight residents and the court heard he was seen in bed with a distressed resident.


Det Insp Andy Hulme said the staff members “showed a total disregard for their wellbeing, displaying contemptible behaviour that should never be tolerated”.


Their actions “caused considerable distress to the victims, and it has been very distressing for their families to hear about it”, the Crown Prosecution Service said.


Every one was charged under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 with ill-treatment and willful neglect of a person with lack of capacity.


The court heard that they had previously been suspended from the home following abuse allegations made by a receptionist and a cleaner in September 2011.


Whistleblowers praised


However they went back to work subsequent to being handed warnings as an effect of an internal investigation and the matter was not referred to the police or social services.


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was sent anonymous emails about the standard of care inside the home, the court heard that in December 2011.

In May 2012, the CQC forwarded the matter to the local authority’s protection team who informed police.


In a statement, relatives of the victims criticized “failings” of managers at Hillcroft, Lancashire County Council, NHS North Lancashire and the CQC.


They also praised the courage of whistleblowers.


They said: “To work in a challenging behaviour unit must be incredibly difficult, requiring patience and understanding, not to mention training and professionalism, but the difficulty of the job does not excuse mistreatment on any level.”


The home’s owner said all those involved have now left and it is under new management.


The former staffs are due to be sentenced in January.


Labor Group fights for better pay for Home Care Workers

Americans live longer base from the statistics, thus making the population age and as it ages the need for home care workers will grow significantly.  According to the Bureau of Labor Standards, the Home Care Workforce will grow from 1.7 Million to 2.6 million in 2018, but the people caring for seniors in their homes earn on average less than 10 dollars an hour and many do not get benefits.  A number of those workers assembled at the Food and Medicine Headquarters in Brewer Thursday to encourage their Senators to make it a priority to improve pay, benefits and training for this growing workforce.

Helen Hanson stood at a podium from her huddling under the tent and shared her financial struggles during her work as a home care worker.

“My bills are paid but when the oil tank is down do I pay the mortgage or do I spend 350 dollars to put 100 gallons in the oil tank,” she said.

Although Hanson loves going into peoples’ homes to care for them she couldn’t make the ends meet.  So instead, she went to work at a rehab facility as a certified nurse and she got better pay and benefits.  This kind of problem is one example of a nationwide concern.

“We have 3 million direct care health workers in the country right now and we’re projecting 27 million seniors by 2050,” Pointed out Reverend Mark Doty, one of those gathered at the Food and Medicine Rally.   The pro workers group had a stage demonstration where they showed how hard their work is.  The demonstration is even complete with a juggler to show how complicated it is for home care workers to juggle their responsibilities.  Everything is happening while caring for a growing number of seniors and finding an easy solution may be a juggling act too.  The issue becomes how to pay for a better wage for them after all agree that home care workers should be paid well.

Vickie Purgavie, executive director of the Home Care and Hospice Alliance of Maine, which advocate for home care businesses, says  home care companies couldn’t afford to pay workers more because they depend on federal funding for most of their revenue, and their reimbursement rates are fixed. Simply put if the businesses give their workers a raise, they can’t charge the government more money to provide those raises

“So any additional requirements if you will around wages or benefits which this group of workers is so deserving of would put the home care agency at a significant deficit,” Purgavie said.

Organizers with Food and Medicine say because many home caregivers are mothers, they submitted Mothers Day cards to Senators King and Collins today, urging them to support a resolution in the Senate urging congress to address the issue of better wages and benefits for Home Care workers.  A spokesperson for Senator King said he is still reviewing the legislation.

Patient Outcomes Improve Under Single Home Health Aides

According to a recent study by SAGE Publications, individuals receiving home health services stand to experience better outcomes if cared for by the same aide day in and day out.

According to the study Continuity in the Provider of Home Health Aide Services and the Likelihood of Patient Improvement in Activities of Daily Living, patients who see the same home health aide across a series of visits have a higher likelihood of improving in various activities of daily living (ADLs) compared to patients whose care is provided by multiple aides.

Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) is a large, urban, non-profit Medicare certified home health agency. Base from their studies, they found that individuals who were cared for continuously by the same aide had a 93% chance of improving their ADLs.

Those who experienced low-continuity of care were roughly 14%-15% hardly to recover their ADLs involving home health admission and discharge than persons who were constantly visited by the similar aide. Those who experienced low-continuity of care is implying to care was spread out among a variety of aides over the course of a home health service period.

Furthermore of note in the report, cases where patients had moderate-continuity did not considerably fluctuate from higher permanence cases in their likelihood of ADL development.

Researchers note that the odds of improvement among cases with high continuity are greater than those for low continuity even if a greater part of cases in the study’s populace enhanced in the figure and severity of ADLs between admission and discharge.

“Ideally, patients should receive services from a single aide over the entire period of home care,” writes the study’s lead author David Russell, Ph.D, Center for Home Care Policy & Research at VNSNY. “However, a number of staffing constraints and operational obstacles often present a challenge to achieving this goal.”

Russell added, home health agencies often provide around-the-clock care and have several staff to cover different shifts, but sometimes these staff members carry multiple case loads and have limited time for care planning, monitoring and review.

According to the report, one strategy to combat this could be to use primary provider teams in conjunction with backup provider teams to limit the number of aides who visit a patient.

A succeeding strategy the study suggests is to center on lowering the quantity of cases with low levels of continuity, and work to develop this group to a more modest level.

The results constructed upon wide research that suggests permanence in the relationship between a patient and his or her caregiver amplifies the chances of optimistic patient conclusions even though the study was supported on one non-profit Medicare-certified home health agency.

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