Hit or Miss? Elderly care home exposed by Panorama reacts to cruelty allegations

Anglia Retirement Homes was drawn into the public eye this week by the BBC's Panorama programme, which ran an undercover investigation into the treatment of elderly residents at its Old Deanery care home in Essex.

Panorama investigation: presenter Alison Holt
Panorama investigation: presenter Alison Holt

The programme was broadcast last night after being trailed by the BBC website and a front page report by the Daily Mirror.

It showed examples of a resident being slapped by a care worker and mocked by other care workers as well as other residents’ requests for assistance being ignored.

How I See It

Andrew Harrison, director, Hanover

It is hard to describe the communications around such heart-breaking scenes as either a hit or a miss given the distress caused, whatever the spin put on it.

It is also worth noting that thus far there has been no real industry-wide coordinated response to the Panorama story, as care providers not implicated will not want to be associated with the images of neglect and mistreatment.

Where the care providers involved did well was in getting the tone of their responses right – not being defensive but instead saying how shocked they were by the footage, explaining the actions they had taken to deal with the situation and outlining what they thought would prevent a reoccurrence.

Communications has been a hit in so much as it has been a mitigating factor rather than an aggravating one. Ultimately, the best was made of a very bad situation.

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