Media & care of the elderly

Several things today caught my attention. I had been contacted to do some media interviews about Tracey Connelly being recommended for release by the parole board, ruling that she’s no longer a danger. The source of the media request seemed pretty clear that all that was wanted was to have a rerun at blaming the statutory authorities for baby Peter’s death and I didn’t feel like there was anything that hadn’t been said already.

One thing I do remember at the time was that she had allegedly been on Facebook regularly before Peter died in which she talked about her new man and the fact that he was a bit of a handful. Agencies always said that they had no knowledge of his presence. That fact was used in the subsequent debates on whether statutory agencies should or should not monitor social media posts of families considered to be a risk. There has been a lot of work since then – especially by the British Association of Social Workers – in formulating social media policies. Some authorities have actually encouraged monitoring, others are still wrestling with the ethical dilemmas that this kind of surveillance would bring.

It would be interesting to know what all you out there think. Should it just be the police? Or should we empower others such as social services to look at all the social media platforms and effectively gather intelligence on families whose behaviour is considered to be extremely risky?


I heard an interview on the Today programme with an elderly lady whose home care consisted of very short bursts of time every day. She had to choose between different basic human needs and hadn’t had a bath in 3 years as her home care team were only allowed half an hour – but 15 minutes was taken up with phoning in and administration of the register in the house. She’d not been out shopping in a long time and the quality of her life sounded very poor.

The impression we are given is that this is due to financial restrictions and under prioritisation of care for the elderly. This is not an unusual story. Although this lady was particularly articulate and did not want to make a huge fuss, the obvious lack of service, erosion of dignity and sheer neglect of the needs of those in society that we should be making feel comfortable for their last years, was obvious.

Again it would be interesting to see what you think about this.

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