My brother reached 7 stone while in a care home in his early 20s – and the placement was becoming untenable due to my mother trying to hold them to account. At a meeting I attended with assorted professionals, I got the doctor to state publicly that he needed 4,000 to 4,500 calories daily (almost twice the daily recommended average). Eventually someone arrived on Mum’s door step with my brother saying there was no where to take him. She took him back, as any loving mother would.
The young man that he is today bears no comparison to the shadow that he was 6 years ago. Traumatised running round the house crying, malnourished, terrified of baths (covering his head) refusing showers. His bubbly personality came back; social interaction and expression of what he wants (and does not want). I cannot ever show my gratitude for what my mother stubbornly achieved.
So when talking to her and finding out that, as she headed towards her mid 60s, it was becoming too much, I decided to move back to the family home 12 years after having moved out. I had been proven wrong about how my brother would be looked after in residential care, and did not want to make the same mistake again.
Panorama does not surprise me on it’s report of care home abuse in Bristol; but I hope the shocking degrading images will bring to ahead what words from families like ours can testify too. That unless complaints and concerns raised by staff and relatives are listened too and investigated properly these things will happen. That we need a system that holds people to account. This was what was happening in Bristol:
One care worker was secretly filmed poking a patient in the eye; another repeatedly slapped a patient in the face; one patient was dragged out of bed and along the floor into a corridor; another was pinned beneath a chair while a second care worker wrapped a blanket round her head and another put her in a headlock
For those that missed the programme you can still catch up with it on BBCiPlayer here for the next 6 days. Four people have been arrested as a result of the investigation. BBC journalism alone justifies the licence fee.