Last week the heath secretary, Jeremy Hunt, called on each of us to look at how we treat our elderly relatives. He said that the loneliness endured by many elderly people, many of whom live in care homes or sheltered accommodation, was “shameful.” Some may find this a little galling coming from a government whose squeezing of council budgets has resulted in the closure of many support services for older people, making the problem of loneliness even worse (according to Age UK). However the point he makes is a good one.

Mr Hunt is right that we all have a duty to take responsibility for our elderly relatives, and indeed our lives are enriched by the relationships we maintain with family members of all generations. He is right that it is shameful if we simply abandon our elderly relatives. However, when help is sought and a relative is receiving professional care as well, we have a right to expect that care to be of the highest possible standard.

Unfortunately many of us are forced to place elderly relatives into nursing homes, or to arrange home care for them, which we hope will guarantee that they will be properly and carefully looked after. Sadly, however, there are times when the care provided to the elderly falls below an acceptable standard, and when we may feel that a relative is not being treated with the care and dignity they deserve by the professionals looking after them.

For example, some elderly people in nursing homes and hospitals are not washed properly, taken to the toilet or given any sort of companionship. Some suffer from malnutrition or dehydration, or have preventable accidents. As well as negligence, it is sadly sometimes the case that elderly people suffer from physical, mental or sexual abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to be looking after them.

If you are concerned about an elderly relative in care, Beecham Peacock can help to put your concerns into action – either by assisting with a complaint to the Care Quality Commission or, if a relative has suffered an injury as a result of their carer’s negligence, by bringing a claim for compensation.

Please contact us if you would like more information or to discuss your claim.

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