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Care homes strengthen healthcare industry by providing specialised care. However rising costs, growing regulatory overreach, and blame culture, pose challenges to the care home industry.
Sheth Jeebun, a well-known and established name in care home services in the UK, is enthusiastic about care for the elderly. A resolute healthcare professional with over 30 years of experience, Sheth Jeebun says an increasing number of South Asians in the UK are also moving the elderly to care homes.
From the excerpts of the interview, ShethJeebun shares his philosophy about caring for the elderly, the challenges, and contemporary trends. Excerpts:
Q: As an operator of care to the elderly what has been your experience like?
It is not a job you do, driven by money, but by compassion. Care homes have a minimum standard and being good is the minimum we aim to achieve.
Q: How was it like in your care homes during the pandemic as elderly people suffered more than any other group?
The pandemic has been one of the saddest and most horrific events the elderly care industry has seen to date. The loss of a loved one is traumatic, but not being able to see or say goodbye has made it worse. Although death is a large part of what we do, we aim for a good, dignified death with time to grieve. This was not possible in the pandemic.
Staff felt unsafe in care services, and had to choose between family and work, often creating an inconvenient situation for us. Now that the pandemic appears to be ending, the local authority, social workers, CCGs and CQC are making appearances again. We have managed in highly challenging conditions for a prolonged period, but the expectation is we should be exactly where we were when they stopped supporting us.
Q: Why are care homes needed and what role are they playing in public service?
Care homes strengthen healthcare industry by providing specialised care to people who are not able to support themselves fully at home and do not have other support structures in place.
Q: Please tell us if increased Asians like Indians and Pakistanis are also moving elderly to care homes?
Yes, they are.
Q: What are the attitudes of Asians towards care homes in the country? And do you think this model needs to be adopted in South Asian and Gulf countries?
Over time, attitudes have changed, and Asians in UK are following the same pattern as the British. We should not adopt this model, but it is undeniably the inevitable.
Q: So how did you get into this field?
I underwent nurse training to be able to get my stay in UK, and the care industry followed suit.
Q: What are the biggest challenges of care sector and what are the opportunities?
The continued challenge in care is funding and accountability. Managing the government, CQC and organizational ideals with limited finances. Any business is possible only within budgetary constraints. Within care, this is often set by the government and then passed on to a care provider to interpret and set a budget. Amid increased care needs, higher government expectations, greater CQC governance, and rising cost of living, more funds are not available. And in case of mistakes, there is a blame culture with no fair distribution of accountability. There are great opportunities, but it is an extremely hard, painful way to make money.
Q: There is a growing trend of British Asians joining this sector as a business model. What is the reason for that?
It is simply because Asians are caring people. It is in our blood.
Q: What kind of services are provided to elderly in care homes and is this true that regulations are strict?
There are multiple kinds of elderly care service provision, including residential care, nursing care, dementia care, disability care, palliative care, home care, live-in care, supported living, daycare, retirement villages, and others. Yes, the regulations are too strict.
Q: As an Asian businessperson, what has been your experience like and what will be your advice to others?
My advice would be that you can keep your basic values of helping people and giving back to the community, and still be successful and make money in this business.