Care homes fail mentally handicapped

Urgent action is need to improve standards at care homes for the mentally handicapped, nursing unions said on Wednesday, following the publication of a damning inspectors report which said 75% of homes are failing in their duties.

The VN&N union said it was ‘shocked’ only a quarter of the 96 homes inspected last year were considered to be doing a proper job in caring for people with a mental handicap. The biggest problem facing the sector was a shortage of both skilled and unskilled staff, the union said.
Among the most common problems reported by inspectors were patients being locked up or left alone because there were not enough people to supervise them, the Volkskrant reported. In others, doctors were rarely called, meaning physical health problems went untreated.
In addition, junior nurses were also too often confronted with difficult and agressive patients because of a lack of properly-trained senior staff, the inspectors said.
Nevertheless, the inspectors said, improvements had been made in respecting the individual wishes of patients and in most cases, nurses worked with a great deal of dedication and respect.
Junior health minister Jet Bussemaker told the Volkskrant that it was important to develop smaller institutions which were more able to deal with patients on an individual level. The inspectors report noted that smaller care homes were more successful.

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