I met up with an old pal of mine who just so happens to be a prison officer. Shock horror, I know, what is Prison Widow doing associating with a screw? She's a genuine pleasant person who has in fact helped many prisoners.
Over a coffee and a Big Mac, very classy but needed, we spoke about her father who has just moved in to a care home here in the UK. As she stirred her coffee, she suddenly looked at me and said, "I would rather my Dad be in prison than where he is now." Don't shoot the messenger, this came from her own mouth. I have worked in a care home, a badly run one, so there's nothing I don't know about certain things that go on in those places. I asked her why she would prefer her Dad in prison.
She simply said this, "There were just three carers on duty the other day and this has been happening a lot."
Her father has middle-stage dementia and for those of you who think that dementia sufferers just forget things, think again, it goes way beyond that. Dementia strips ones dignity. It is one of the most cruelest illnesses I have ever come across and I have lost family members to it myself.
I asked her how many patients were on her father's ward to which she replied, "roughly 35."
So, three carers to look after 35 middle-stage dementia patients is acceptable do you think? It's far from it believe me.
I worked for the celebrity secret millionaire pay as you go peerage Doctor, Dr Chai Patel. He's pledged in various newspapers that he would treat his care home residents like he would his own mother!
Get the bull-shit button out because he is a bare-faced liar. I have worked in one of his care homes that allocated just one carer to do a night-shift expected to care for over 30 dementia patients. I have witnessed carers sobbing because they could not physically give the residents the high standard of care promised by the ex-Priory owner Dr Patel. Physically I wouldn't be able to care for over 30 dementia patients single-handed. It is an impossibility, but Chai Patel's private health care company isn't the only one that skimps and scrapes on staffing levels in order to reap in the profits. As far as I am concerned, it's about time the bastards were exposed because believe you me, some of the things I saw wasn't good and yes I reported it.
My friend when on to tell me, "My Dad has been woken up by night staff at 5.00am because of short-staffing levels and he has been put in bed at 7.00pm of a night because of short-staffing levels."
Again, that was nothing of a shock to me either because I have also seen this taking place in the home I worked in. Some of the residents didn't have a choice, their lives were run by the carers. Imagine being woken up at 5.00am and waiting 4 hours for a cup of tea? I'd be right in saying that any prisoner here in the UK would be on the roof if that happened to them on a regular basis.
If a prison officer states that she would rather house her own flesh and blood in prison rather than have him residing in a care home, something, and I mean something, is drastically wrong.
Yes there are some good care homes around, I am not disputing that, but I think they are very few and far between having read numerous comments by care home employees and families of patients online.
If a child was neglected and had to wait 4 hours for a drink, there would be a public outcry. So why aren't people coming forward and kicking arses when it comes to our elders? Health Guru Jeremy Hunt stated on Sky News last month that he wouldn't like his own mother to be in some of the British care homes. The truth is his mother wouldn't be a care home I worked in. It just wouldn't happen. In fact, none of the Governments family members would be put in to the type of care home I worked in because they just wouldn't.
I was talking to an ex prisoner last night who had served umpteen sentences some going back to the old Strangeways slopping out days. I told him about some of the things I had witnessed in the care home I worked in. He was outraged. Now for someone who had served prison sentences in grim conditions, I thought this was alarming. Maybe my friend is right, maybe I would prefer my own Dad to be prison too rather than one of the British 'people profiting' care homes.