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Old age care homes tying up thousands illegally

The Local · 25 Apr 2012, 11:57

Published: 25 Apr 2012 11:57 GMT+02:00

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Across the country around 140,000 people are being routinely restrained in old age care homes – and in around a tenth of these cases the required court order has not been issued, according to a report from the advisory body that for state health insurance (MDK).

Care of pressure sores and other wounds was also found to be wanting, with around 134,000 people at increased risk of bed sores not receiving enough preventative care.

And despite improvements in care over the past five years, 97,000 people in care homes who have difficulty eating or swallowing do not get enough help, the report said.

The MDK urged for improvements as it presented its study.

Between 20 to 40 percent of patients in more than 8,000 care homes were found not have received adequate wound care, enough food and drink or close enough observation for signs of dementia. Around 61 percent of residents also received some sort of sedative on a regular basis.

“There is still a lot that needs to be done,” said Gernot Kiefer, head of the board for statutory health insurance on Tuesday.

The first systematic inspection of the nation’s care homes was ordered in 2007 after years of complaints, and since then a report has been compiled every year.

For the 31 percent of residents who were registered as suffering chronic pain, a large proportion of homes had failed to establish a consistent pain management plan.

In many cases, the inspectors were pleased with the results, though. “Quality of care has broadly improved,” said head of the MDK Peter Pick. “But in certain areas there is an acute need for action.”

The results come as German politicians are waking up to the idea that in the next 50 years, the number of its population suffering from dementia will double, reaching around 2.5 million.

Currently, 61 percent of the 700,000 people who live in Germany’s care homes suffer from some form of dementia.

Around half of these residents were found to have received too little care and just one in three patients received dementia-specific treatment.

“There has to be a high level of professional knowledge to look after people with dementia,” care expert for the MDK Jürgen Brüggemann said. “Sufferers often can’t explain how much pain they are in, so you have to figure it out from movements.”

Story continues below…

Insurance boss Kiefer has been pushing for parliament to fund the care of dementia suffers and if a drafted reform from the Health Ministry is passed, more money could be available by 2013.

Nearly 8,000 of the 1.7 million outpatients were also assessed by the MDK, who found that only two fifths of those who were at risk of bedsores were receiving adequate care. Generally, the standard of at-home care for people with dementia had declined since 2007.

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:19 April 25, 2012 by auslanderus
Can someone explain to me when there is a train with atomis material being transported, 10s of thousands protest. But here are there "loved ones" getting sh-t care they sit on there hands. Why aren't people up in arms over this? Why do people allow this to happen? Please explain it to me?
15:03 April 25, 2012 by charlenej
I don't know, auslanderus. I would protest over this and I don't even have a family member in care. It's outrageous.
15:26 April 25, 2012 by catjones
auslanderus...these people don't vote and so they have no politician's ear.
16:04 April 25, 2012 by raandy
There has been improvement according to MDK, but more needs to be done.The fact that this has been published and problems have been recognized is a step in the right direction. It is outrageous to think these people are treated in some cases with little to no respect.
17:02 April 25, 2012 by Lisa Rusbridge
@catjones, Why don't people in nursing homes vote? Are there no such things as absentee ballots in Germany? Or must one be able to personally visit the polling place to cast a vote?

For what it's worth the only way to combat this successfully is to have a vigilant family member or friend or representative visit the nursing home. It's even better if you have more than one person do this, so it can be done every day. Visit at odd hours and do not make your timing predictable. You must stay at mealtime, get to know the staff by name, pitch in and help in all ways possible and monitor things like diet, physical care, medications and activities. If you have a skill and can contribute than do that as well. I know of one woman who played the piano and would lead sing-a-longs as her way of helping. To let your family member grow old as you passively sit by and think the state, big brother or your nanny state will take care of things is just a form of fooling yourself. Ideally you should care for your family member yourself, but if this isn't possible you still cannot close your eyes to what goes on in their reality. Remember we will all (hopefully) grow old one day!
18:25 April 25, 2012 by catjones
Lisa Rusbridge...'Currently, 61 percent of the 700,000 people who live in Germany¦#39;s care homes suffer from some form of dementia.'

My guess: voting is not at the top of their needs agenda.
19:14 April 25, 2012 by Lisa Rusbridge

That still leaves 39% of the residents remaining. Also, having *some* form of dementia may not preclude one from the having the faculties to vote. Many older people are very interested in politics. Also, if Germany has absentee ballots they should be utilized by people in the circumstance of when they can't get out to the polling place. It's just another form of neglect and shutting the elderly off from the outside world if this is not done.
01:26 April 26, 2012 by gorongoza
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
01:54 April 26, 2012 by lenny van
I am professional person in my middle seventies, living alone in a cellar, I will be filing for bankruptcy next week and the court has already allowed a bank to auction my apartment because I cannot pay money that a bank in innsbruck cheated me out of when it recalculated my bank balance after my bank manager stole € 50,000 from my account.

I am considering the three options open to me: suicide, jail or letting the German bureaucracy take care of me until I die. The only option that I've definitely eliminated is the last one. A true story. Stay tuned.
11:42 April 26, 2012 by gorongoza
My comment on #9 was removed because it exposed the hypocrisy in Germany society. Not surprised at all: The Local revel when people pass all sorts of comments on other people/societies but will pounce hard on those like me for merely reminding them that its readership are not all disciples or sheep who are expected to say Yes Sir. This "we are better than them" mentality can only be preached to fools or the uninformed.

There is no worse hypocrisy in a society that can beat this - treating old helpless people in this manner. Nowhere in the world can it be found.

Please The Local re-insert my comment and let readers judge for themselves.
11:50 March 8, 2013 by haanahsmith
When i became a caregiver i always wanted to serve elderly people, and i seriously never thought that many of the old aged care homes are involved into frauds.

What i can say is only that before hiring of any home care agency family members of the old aged people should do proper analysis about the agency, and after the confirmation of everything, they should then only go for it.

Reference: http://www.carefortheelderly.ie/
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