Thursday, 2 June 2011

care . . . ?

Last night there was a documentary on TV about residents being abused in a UK care home for adults with learning difficulties.
To say it was shocking is an understatement. Thankfully today the news is saying that 15 staff have been suspended and four people have been arrested.

This programme was made because a former member of staff, who had informed the relevant authorities about what was happening there FOUR times without any action being taken decided to take the story to a TV company instead. They sent in an undercover reporter who secretly filmed the footage shown. That in itself is shocking enough - that nobody bothered to even look into this persons reports.
People complain about the media but without their involvement here nothing would’ve happened and the systematic physical and mental torture in that home would continue.

Put this alongside the recent story in our news about super-injunctions and footballers worrying that their sordid sex secrets are going to be exposed and I’ll take the over intrusive media thanks very much.

As someone who has worked in residential homes I find it hard to believe that things like this can still happen. Of course my experience was in children’s homes not adults but the regulating bodies are the same, and the checks undertaken on staff are all done via the criminal records bureau. The things these people were doing was like something you read about from the 1960s before staff were checked and homes inspected.

The neighbours must’ve thought I was the one having a fucking argument instead of them for a change because I was shouting and swearing at the TV.

From what I saw last night the staff in this place are a gang of bullies. I am still struggling to get my head around how that could happen. A couple of times in my jobs I encountered staff whose methods were questionable, although nothing like those people - but when that happened myself and the other staff spoke to our managers and appropriate action was taken.

If you witness a person being abused and turn a blind eye are you not also guilty ?
It seems as if all but one person did just that, although now the proverbial shits hit the fan other workers are talking to the papers about the main protagonists.
Guilty conscience ? Much. And no doubt worried about implication.

How can you work in a caring profession if you don’t care ?

I have worked with some very challenging young people but what enabled me, and the people I worked with to do so was being able to see beyond the behaviours to the child inside and knowing the reasons why they were in care.
None of the young people I met wanted sympathy, but if you couldn’t feel any compassion or make allowances for what they had been through then to my mind you had no place being with them.
Yes we dealt with situations where there was a potential for danger, but we only used physical restraint when all other options failed and that really wasn’t that often. Skilled, experienced people who understand their clients will have a wealth of techniques that involve no physical contact other then for reassurance once the distressed person has calmed.
And if we did have to resort to holding we were all trained how to do so in a way that meant no-one got hurt.

We never pinned anyone under a chair and put a foot on them - that’s what was happening at Winterbourne.

Getting to know our clients was key. The best tool to have is the ability to know when something’s about to kick off and diffuse the problem before it starts. One day we had three lads starting to argue in the lounge, previous experience said that if allowed to continue these three would end up fighting. I walked in the room, put the telly on and asked them to either argue quietly or go outside as I wanted to watch Eastenders. They all just looked at me for a minute, waiting no doubt for me to tell them off but I just sat down. They were so shocked at the non-reaction they stopped arguing and sat down with me.

But then we were never the cause of the distress in the first place, the morons in this programme were actually winding the residents up like it was a game. They put a woman in a shower with her clothes on, put another out in the garden, poured water on her and the senior worker, a man, was offering to fight her. Unbefuckinglievable.
One woman would not get up so two men actually dragged her out of bed.

Picture from Daily Mail - click for full article, not pleasant reading.
Nowhere I worked would a male staff member enter a girls room unless he had a female with him, and even then not when she was in bed. That is standard practise across all sectors of social care and is for staff protection too, with young people who had been sexaully abused there was always a need to be aware of the risk of allegations against staff.

Just because you cannot live with your family does not mean that you aren’t entitled to privacy and dignity.
Sometimes more so actually.
It might be embarrassing if a member of your family walked in your room without knocking and you were naked - but these things happen in families. How would you feel if that happened but you shared your home with strangers.

Sometimes we had kids that would refuse to get up, we’d just keep banging on their door every 10 mins or so, or my favourite trick was to get the vacuum out on the landing. But even then if you knew they’d had a bad night or were tired you let them sleep - just like you would your own children.
I always saw my role as being a substitute parent, that’s how it should be.

There many different jobs for people working in care professions. But while social workers and those above them often get paid a good salary, they have the least contact with clients. It’s the people that work in the homes and in projects who deal with the tough every day aspects of behaviours, attend to basic needs and give the real care and nurturing they need. And for the most part those jobs don’t pay very well, but those of us that do it do so because it’s a vocation that we love.
And although when it’s tough it can be draining emotionally and physically, when it goes well and you have a great day or a breakthrough with a client it’s an amazing feeling.

Which just makes me question the motivation of the bastards I saw last night even more. They’re never going to get any breakthroughs with clients that are terrified of them, in fact they are pretty much guaranteed to have a tough day every day and the money is shit. Therefore they must be there solely to abuse the people they work with.

Bullies. . . picking on the weak and defenceless.

But just HOW did so many people with the same sick attitude all wind up working in the same place.

Nope, still don’t get it.

I just hope when they get to court they lock the bastards up with the kind of people who will show them what it feels like to be on the receiving end.


  1. It's a totally fucked situation. And you nailed it, these people are cowards. Anyone that chooses to mentally or physically torment another being that is defenseless (such as animals, children, disabled adults, senior citizens) is a fucking waste of space and ought to have the shit kicked out of them in prison for a good long while.

    I always wonder why such people are accepted into positions like this. I work with children, and some think I have it easy. It's not, it can be trying and awful, which is why you have to WANT to be there. Same for all the other places like it.

    Makes my blood boil, I tell you.

  2. I've dealt with so many people like the tatted skinhead guy in the pic. they're pussies when you get them one on one. He's a fucking bully plain and simple. I hope in jail someone puts a foot on HIS neck.

  3. I agree with you both, as an update the home in question has now been closed.
    Which I suppose is a good thing, however it does mean that the people who live there now have to settle into a new home. I guess once it's reputation was so tarnished social services would not be sending anyone else there even with new staff.


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