Vulnerable care home residents are being left in urine-soaked bed sheets

Nursing home residents in need have to lie in urine-soaked beds for hours because of a crippling staff shortage, the UK’s largest union has warned.

UNISON said it had received a number of reports from its members that basic hygiene and care were being withheld from even the most frail residents.

It warned residents were missing out on regular baths, rushed through meal times, and in some cases even dying without anyone being able to hold their hands.

UNISON said it has received similar reports from across the UK, warning families of a “nightmare” situation in which loved ones are left without proper care.

It is not clear how many of Britain’s 18,000 households are in crisis, but unions have warned that staff shortages will force “hundreds” to close.

Nursing homes have long been in a crisis with around 100,000 vacancies on the way to a pandemic.

But the government was accused this month of wreaking havoc by asking all employees to get vaccinated against Covid – which left up to 60,000 people unemployed.

The UNISON survey published today found that around two-thirds of workers are considering leaving the job because of burnout and low wages.

Nursing home residents are left in urine-soaked sheets due to a lack of staff and have no one in their hands in their final hours (picture)

Nursing home residents are left in urine-soaked sheets due to a lack of staff and have no one in their hands in their final hours (picture)

Above are the latest figures for the percentage of nursing home staff who received first and second doses of the vaccine.  The government has been accused of worsening the sector's staffing crisis by making vaccinations compulsory

Above are the latest figures for the percentage of nursing home staff who received first and second doses of the vaccine. The government has been accused of worsening the sector’s staffing crisis by making vaccinations compulsory

Homeworker Pat, not her real name, said the staff “do everything they can” but there is no longer enough to ensure proper care.

The 21-year-old said, “Often the only option is to change the clothes of a person who has soiled their bed without washing them.

“There is hardly any time to wash the residents’ hair, so it is not done as often as it should.

According to a survey by the union, two thirds of nurses are looking for another job

Around two-thirds of those working in nursing homes are looking for other jobs, the UK’s largest union warns.

UNISON surveyed around 1,600 nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to get an idea of ​​the situation in the industry.

But they found that 67 percent of employees said they are considering quitting their jobs.

The main drivers for this were burnout and stress (30 percent), better pay elsewhere (29 percent) and compulsory vaccination (14 percent).

Half of the respondents (47 percent) stated that the number of staff in the homes that endangered the residents was too low.

UNISON General Secretary Christina McAnea said the families were facing a “nightmare” situation.

“The care sector has an urgent labor shortage and cannot wait months for the government to find a solution,” she said.

“Ministers should give all nursing staff festive joy early on and announce a nationwide salary increase.

“This would move many who are about to quit to stay and encourage more people to seriously consider some social welfare work.”

“I recently had to decide whether to sit with a dying resident and hold hands until his family arrived or whether I wanted someone to clean up.”

And the 40-year-old nurse Suzanne, not even her real name, repeated her colleague, who warned that the workforce was now “dangerously low”.

She said, “We often take care of more residents than we should, so we cannot provide high quality basic services.

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

“Some colleagues have been lost due to the vaccination deadline and almost half of the workforce is on sick leave due to stress or illness.

“I had to take a cut in salary to get into nursing – I love the job, but it takes its toll on me.”

Another worker added, “People will not bathe or shower regularly, they will only wash. There is no time to get the job done right.

“Some don’t get dressed until 2 p.m. and the feeding is rushed.

“Employees are exhausted, angry and upset because they know they just don’t have the time to do everything the way they should.”

Other workers said there were “not enough staff on each shift,” which resulted in residents being put to bed early to free people up for other jobs.

Unions had warned that the no blow, no job policy introduced earlier that month would put thousands of houses in crisis and many would have to close.

They said for many employees it could be the last nail in the coffin before going to retail and supermarkets.

The UNISON survey, published today, asked 1,600 workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland about the sector.

Around 47 percent believe that staff shortages will have a negative impact on the industry.

And 31 percent said the workforce was dangerously low and had a negative impact on care.

For comparison: around 20 percent said that there were some bottlenecks, but that their job was okay.

Of the two-thirds who said they were leaving the sector, burnout and stress (30 percent) were followed by poor pay (29 percent) and vaccination requirements (14 percent).

UNISON Secretary General Christina McAnea said caregivers were leaving the sector “in droves” because they were post-pandemic exhausted, covering understaffed shifts and fed up with low wages.

She said: “The care sector is desperately short of labor and cannot wait months for the government to find a solution.

“Ministers should give all nursing staff festive joy early on and announce a nationwide salary increase.

“This would move many who are about to quit to stay and encourage more people to seriously consider some social welfare work.”

A health ministry spokeswoman said: “Everyone deserves high quality and compassionate care, and we are grateful for the dedication and tireless work of social welfare staff during the pandemic.

“Nursing homes and home care services are now benefiting from the new £ 162.5 million staff loyalty and recruitment fund to ease staffing pressures.

“In addition, as part of our £ 5.4 billion welfare reform, the government will invest a minimum of £ 500 million in caregiver development and support.”

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