31 Oct 2012

Care homes ‘worst option’ for people with spinal injuries

A shortage of adapted housing means that one in five people who suffers a spinal cord injury will be put in a elderly care home, regardless of their age, a charity has warned.

one in five paralysed patients are discharged from hospital into a care home because a shortage of housing that meets their needs (Getty)
Spinal cord injury charity Aspire has publish research showing that some patients in care homes were left in bed all day, suffered pressure sores, infections and, in some cases, psychological damage.
Hospital discharge data obtained by the charity covering hundreds of patients revealed that 20 per cent of paralysed patients are discharged from hospital into a care home because there is not housing in the community that meets their new needs.
The charity said that the care facilities are often unsuitable and can lead to patients suffering psychological damage.
Researchers at Loughborough University conducted extensive interviews with 20 spinal cord injured people who have lived, or are living, in care homes.
Patients reported poor quality of life and other physical injuries including pressure sores, infections and broken bones.
They also reported a lack of independence, damage to relationships, isolation and boredom.
Participants said that care home staff were regularly not able to help them out of bed until midday, and in some cases people were left in bed all day if the home was short staffed.
Brian Carlin, chief executive of Aspire, said: “All too often, people with spinal cord injury find themselves discharged to somewhere totally unsuitable and, as this study confirms, care homes are often the very worst option for someone recovering from a traumatic spinal injury.
“As a country, we’re still celebrating the fantastic success of GB’s Paralympians this summer. How many of them would have had the opportunity to compete if they’d spent months or years confined to a room in a care home?
“Thousands of people are being robbed of the basic ability to get on with their lives.”