PR care for the care sector

There has been a spate of real horror stories in the media recently about the dreadful way some care homes treat those they are supposed to be – well, caring for.

An approach by the Daily Mail to the Office for National Statistics in January revealed an appalling record of neglect, with more than 600 residents dying of thirst in the last five years, and almost 160 dying of malnutrition – or, to put it bluntly, starving  to death.

In this day and age, and in a country that prides itself on being civilised – can you believe it?

Sadly we’re forced to, just as we have to accept sundry other grim tales about thousands of care home inmates dying of superbugs and individual reports of elderly and helpless people covered in ulcers, denied toilet assistance and given either the wrong medication or no medication at all.

Surely the care home sector can’t really be that bad? Well, no, as a matter of fact it isn’t, though that’s the impression the average reader is bound to take away.

The truth is that the vast majority of residential and nursing homes – whether privately or local authority run - provide efficient, professional and humane treatment  for those in their charge and are as horrified as the rest of us by the bad apples in their midst.

In the welter of negative publicity, however, that easily gets lost – which set me to thinking the sector clearly needs to be shown how to present its nicer, kinder face.

So at Gravitas we are busy creating workshops that will help them to do that, telling  them not only how to deal with those sudden crises that can hit even the best-run organisations but how best to handle the media to get some positive messages across for a change.

For if ever a sector needed some tender, loving care, it’s the care sector.

David Leake