Vulnerable care home residents are being left in urine-soaked bed sheets and denied baths because of staffing crisis, UK’s biggest trade union warns – as fears grow that ‘no jab, no job’ policy will cripple sector

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  • Workers said they had to leave dying residents to help care for others
  • And in some cases the staff was not able to provide the residents with regular bathing and cleaning.
  • UNISON warns the sector faces an ‘unprecedented’ staffing crisis

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Britain’s biggest union has warned that vulnerable care home residents are forced to lie on beds soaked in urine for hours due to crippling staff shortages.

UNISON said it has received several reports from its members that even the most vulnerable residents are being denied basic hygiene and care.

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It warned that residents were not getting regular baths, meal times were being hurried and in some cases even left to die for holding someone’s hand.

UNISON said it had received similar reports across the UK and warned that families are facing a ‘nightmare’ situation where loved ones are left without proper care.

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It is not clear how many of Britain’s 18,000 households are in distress, but unions have warned that a shortage of staff is bound to close ‘hundreds’.

Care homes have long been in crisis and some 100,000 positions are heading towards the pandemic.

But the government was accused of creating chaos this month by requiring all employees to be vaccinated against Covid – forcing 60,000 people out of work.

A UNISON survey published today found that some two-thirds of workers were considering leaving the profession due to burn-out and low pay.

Caregivers are being left in sheets soaked in urine and no one has a hand in their final hours due to a lack of staff (stock image)

Above are the latest figures for the proportion of care home workers who received the first and second doses of the vaccine.  The government was accused of increasing employees and distress in the sector by making coercion mandatory.

Above are the latest figures for the proportion of care home workers who received the first and second doses of the vaccine. The government was accused of increasing employees and distress in the sector by making coercion mandatory.

Care home worker Pat, not his real name, said staff are “doing everything they can” but are no longer good enough to deliver the right level of care.

The 21-year-old said: ‘Often, the only option is to change the clothes of someone who has made their bed dirty without washing it.

‘The residents barely even have time to wash their hair so it doesn’t have to be done as often as it should.

Two-thirds of care workers looking for other jobs, union survey warns

Some two-thirds of care home workers are looking for other jobs, the UK’s largest union has warned.

Unison surveyed about 1,600 care workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to get a snap shot of the state of the sector.

But they found that 67 percent of employees were saying they were considering leaving their jobs.

The main reasons for this were burn-out and stress (30 per cent), better pay elsewhere (29 per cent) and compulsory vaccination (14 per cent).

Half (47 percent) of those surveyed said that staffing levels were also very low in homes putting residents at risk.

Unison’s secretary general, Christina McNea, said the families were facing a “nightmare”.

“There is acute labor shortage in the care sector and the government cannot wait for months for a solution,” he said.

‘Ministers should give some early festive cheer to all care workers and announce wage increases across the board.

‘This will persuade many people to leave to live and encourage more people to seriously think about working in social care.’

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‘I recently had to choose between holding a dying resident’s hand and sitting there until their family arrived or someone was going to clean it.’

And care worker Susan, 40, who is not even her real name, warned her colleague that staffing levels are now ‘alarmingly low’.

She said: ‘We often care for more residents, so we shouldn’t be providing quality basic care.

‘I had to leave the residents in tears because I had to take care of someone else who needed me.

‘Some colleagues have been lost due to vaccination deadlines and nearly half of the workforce is ill due to stress or illness.

‘I took a pay cut to take care of me – I love the job, but it’s taking a toll on me.’

Another worker said: ‘People are not getting a regular bath or shower, just a wash. There is no time to do the job properly.

‘Some people are not getting ready by 2 pm, and help is provided.

‘Employees are tired, angry and upset because they know they don’t have time to do everything as they should.’

Other workers described how ‘there are not enough workers in each shift’ which caused residents to go to sleep early to free up people for other jobs.

Unions had warned that the ‘no when, no job’ policy introduced this month would put thousands of homes in danger and many would have to be closed.

It could be the final nail in the coffin for many employees before they go back to work in retail and supermarkets, he said.

Unison’s survey, published today, asked 1,600 workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland about the sector.

It was found that around 47 per cent believe that staff shortage is having a negative impact on the sector.

And 31 percent said staffing levels were dangerously low and negatively impacting the care provided.

For comparison, some 20 percent said there was some shortage but their workplace was managing.

Of the two-thirds who said they would leave the area, the main drivers were burn-out and stress (30 percent), followed by poor pay (29 percent) and mandatory vaccinations (14 percent).

UNISON Secretary-General Christina McNea said care workers were leaving the sector ‘in droves’ because they were tired of covering short-staffed shifts after the pandemic and fed up with low pay.

She said: ‘There is a dire shortage of workers in the care sector and the government cannot wait months for a solution.

‘Ministers should give some early festive cheer to all care workers and announce wage increases across the board.

‘This will persuade many people to leave to live and encourage more people to seriously think about working in social care.’

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