Complaining Doesn’t Come Easy for the Nation’s Elderly 04 January 2016
Elderly people across the country are failing to report worries about the level of care they are receiving - for fear that negative feedback may impact on future treatment, according to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
Its new report says that more than half of those aged 65 who were interviewed did not complain, despite being unhappy with the quality of their treatment. And nearly 20 percent were unsure about how to raise their concerns.
“We all know the British stereotype of not wishing to make a scene by complaining - whether that’s in a restaurant, a hotel or a hospital,” says time4care Managing Director, Rob Dolbear.
“But this latest report makes for very grim reading. And many elderly people are hit with a double-whammy because they don’t have a friend or relative who can speak up for them. It’s not always that they have no one. Often their loved ones are living some distance away - perhaps even in a different country.
“It’s a great shame because, not only are those who are most vulnerable in society being hard done by, those who are caring for them are missing out on valuable opportunities to improve their services.
“One of the biggest issues is that, in the main, the elderly don’t have straightforward access to the complaints system. Many don’t have computers, so the online option is closed to them. At time4care, we work on behalf of the relatives of those who can no longer cope independently.
“The main concerns of many of our clients is that they are in full-time employment and may not even be living close to their elderly loved ones. They often feel helpless - worrying about how their relatives are getting to the doctor or hospital in the first place. After that, they feel concerned that the treatment may not be appropriate or up-to-scratch, even if these worries are unfounded. And the fact that so many older patients find it difficult to complain means they may be suffering in silence.
“With three million people juggling work with caring for an older or disabled loved one, our role is to provide workers with a safety blanket - and we do it through employers.
“Through businesses across the UK, we offer dedicated liaison officers to oversee the entire process of making sure the affairs of older people are looked after - whether that’s arranging appropriate care at home or managing the sale of their property and helping them move into a residential or nursing home.
“It’s fair to say, relatives will still worry - particularly after this latest report. There’s nothing worse than knowing someone you love is being looked after many miles away - even if that care is top notch.
“But we like to think we’re here to offer some much needed emotional support to employees during what can be an incredibly stressful time. And often that can make all the difference to their own wellbeing and, in turn, their productivity at work.”