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Care home residents denied dignified end-of-life care due to ‘dangerously low’ staffing

by our Industrial reporter @TrinderMatt

STAFFING levels in social care are so “dangerously low” that some dying residents have been denied dignified end-of-life care, Unison said today.

The union’s survey of more than 1,600 workers in the sector across England, Wales and the north of Ireland found nearly a third (31 per cent) felt that there were not enough staff to sit with people in their final hours.

Many are being left in dirty sheets, denied regular baths or showers and not helped to dress until the afternoon, carers also reported.  

An overwhelming majority (97 per cent) of workers said that their employer has staff shortages due to burnout, overwork and low pay. 

And about two-thirds (67 per cent) warned that they are thinking of leaving the industry, a finding described by Unison as a “disastrous but inevitable consequence of poverty wages, low morale and years of chronic underfunding.”

General secretary Christina McAnea said: “Social care is experiencing an unprecedented staffing crisis.

“Care workers are leaving in their droves – burnt out from the [Covid-19] pandemic, exhausted from covering understaffed shifts and fed up with low wages.

“This is nothing short of a nightmare for families worried about the care of their loved ones, overworked employees struggling to cope and employers concerned they won’t have the staff to stay open.

“The care sector can’t wait months for the government to come up with a solution.”

Ms McAnea called on Tory ministers to give all care employees some “early festive cheer and announce an across-the-board pay rise.”

It would “persuade many on the verge of quitting to stay and encourage more people to think seriously about working in social care,” she stressed. 

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