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Govt: Better homes needed for those leaving care

Young care leavers should be offered a decent place to stay, a new report says. Credit: David Cheskin/PA

A new cross-party report has warned that young care leavers should be offered a decent place to stay and not "unsuitable" accommodation such as bed and breakfasts.

In the new report, the Commons education select committee said that those leaving care should not be abruptly pushed out of the system.

It recommends that these young people should not be forced to leave care before 21, and must be provided with regulated accommodation.

More: Long-term conditions are 'biggest challenge' to NHS

Children placed in care are to stay near their homes

Children placed in care to stay near homes under new plans unveiled. Credit: ITV News

The Government has confirmed measures to stop vulnerable children being placed in care miles from their homes.

Children's minister Edward Timpson said he was determined to end an "out of sight, out of mind" culture and in future senior officials will have to sign off on all such decisions.

Changes coming into force at the end of the month will also see tougher inspection of care homes and more information released on performance.

Dehydration symptoms to be aware of in elderly people

Over the past 10 years, 1,158 care home residents died of thirst or while suffering from severe dehydration - an average of almost 10 people a month - according to a report by The Daily Telegraph.

Here are some symptoms of severe dehydration, according to the NHS:

  • Tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Low level of consciousness
  • Dry mouth, eyes that don't produce tears
  • Not passing urine for eight hours
  • Dry skin that sags slowly into position when pinched up
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Blood in stools/vomit
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sunken eyes
  • Weak pulse
  • Cool hands and feet
  • Seizures


Elder abuse charity: Quality and safety's an afterthought

Action on Elder Abuse told ITV News that today's report findings are a "major scandal" and said that "all levels" must bear some responsibility for failings in elder care.

It is appalling that frail vulnerable people can die from a lack of basic sustenance in the heart of care provision.

This is a major scandal that should never have occurred, and all levels must bear some responsibility, including care providers, regulators and the Government. The quality and safety of care of our older people has been an afterthought for too long.

What we need is a Cabinet-led strategy that makes this a major priority for change. We cannot go on like this.

– Gary FitzGerald Chief Executive, Action on Elder Abuse

Care home dehydration neglect: Some of the victims

As a report reveals more than 1,000 British care home residents over the past decade died of thirst or while suffering from severe dehydration, we look at some recent cases.

  • Norma Spear, 71, died in September 2010 after losing 35lbs in five weeks in Druids Meadow care home, Birmingham. An inquest found dehydration played a part in her death.
  • Josephine Cunningham, 86, won compensation from Care UK in 2011 after being left badly dehydrated at Appleby House, Epsom.
  • Gloria Foster, 81, died in February 2013 after being left nine days without food, following the closure of her care provider Agency Carefirst24, which shut with no replacement, a report by Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board found.
  • Siegfried Jaeckel, 84, died on Christmas Day 2010 at St Andrew's Lodge care home, Nottingham, with the nature of his death prompting a council enquiry. Deputy Coroner for Nottingham Heidi Connor said the cause of death was pneumonia, but that dehydration had contributed to this.

Norman Lamb: Care failings are entirely unacceptable

Care and support minister Norman Lamb said care failings that contribute to people being malnourished or dehydrated are "entirely unacceptable".

The law requires that care homes must ensure residents receive enough to eat and drink and we expect the Care Quality Commission to take swift action when this is not the case.

We want everyone to get better care, which is why the CQC are bringing in new rules so that it can crack down on poor care more effectively and why we're taking action so that company directors will be personally responsible for the quality of care their organisation provides.

– Care and support minister Norman Lamb

Charity wants improved care home staff training

A charity has warned that an improvement in training for care home staff was necessary to look after patients.

The warning comes after figures published in The Daily Telegraph showed that over 1,000 care home residents had died of thirst or while suffering from severe dehydration in the past decade.

It makes you sick to the stomach that you are handing your loved ones over with even the remotest possibility they could starve to death or die of thirst.

There is a real need for better training for those who are looking after elderly and vulnerable people. But even more important is allowing people the time to really care for someone.

– Dr Alison Cook, director of external affairs at the Alzheimer's Society
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