Need, night and utter shite

Yesterday Mark Neary flagged up concern about shared overnight care in warehouse type facilities. Responses to his post can be read at the #LBBill facebook page.

To summarise, it sounds like a cheap gig is being created through the sharing of ‘night’ care by local authorities/providers. Groups of people who are supposed to have support workers can be put to bed sharpish of an evening, leaving one support worker and ‘assistive technology’ on the nightshift (9pm-7am). Assistive technology can be alarmed doors to alert the (dozy TV watching?) night shift herb that an inmate is on the move. (This reminds me a little bit of the experience of my mate’s son.) Strikes me a bit dodgy that this technology can be increasingly (without question) used to surveil, monitor and constrain the movements of learning disabled people to reduce costs/workloads, while any mention of surveillance equipment to protect people from abuse is shot down in a fury of privacy arguments. (Bit of an aside, but I’m still flummoxed as to why we’re still banging on about post-Winterbourne when so many other abuses have happened since and LB died..(he died?) Is it the power of video footage or just another containment exercise?)

Most of us have some say in when we decide to watch the tv, have some nosh, go out, hang out or go to bed. It’s, er, part of being human. Bedding people down by 9pm (and probably much earlier in practice – again, see mate’s story above) for cost and containment reasons is surely breaching their human rights? And goes hand in hand with the shutting down (or more accurately, never opening up) of any sniff of opportunity, aspiration and imagination.

With LB’s death, the sledgehammer of fear no longer hangs over us. We no longer have to worry about how he will lead a (most optimistic scenario) basic life in the context of poor support, budgets cuts and a system which doesn’t recognise the humanity of people like him. And that terrible, terrible fear of what will happen to him when we ain’t around anymore. The worst thing imaginable has happened. In a context that will never ever make any sense to us.

I’m left now, outside this circle of fear, wondering what the fuck is going on? Why are we discussing proposed changes post this/post the other when the beacon that is independent supported living seems to be morphing into a mechanism for managing people on the cheap? An update today on the Bubb report (sigh) talks about new buildings and a (sinister) skills academy. No doubt with hefty contracts for state of the art assistive technology. The potential for this technology to replace the human in the context of learning disability provision is enormous. And menacing. Social interaction (in a diverse range of forms) is central to being human. Removing that from an already socially impoverished group has terrible implications.

I can’t help seeing a future where people reside in the community with empty lives, increasingly monitored by technology. With cost as the central motivation for stripping away their humanity even further.

Anyone know when person centred dropped off the table?


This is what everyday life looks like for many people. How have we got it so wrong?

4 thoughts on “Need, night and utter shite

  1. Person centred has to remain the foucus or you give way to places being run like battery hen farms…monitering should be there to keep people safe but always humanity and care most come first.

  2. Sara

    Work house or ware house both mean the same when used to shelve stack poor and vulnerable and disabled people. Nil value non productive non people…… commodities l like tea bags. Just stick a price on their toe..and dust ’em off.
    Someone has just got PhD (well done) on (approximately as far as I understand it) altruism in the context of the virtual world – social media etc etc. I recognise a world at it’s worst, where people talk only in clipped sound bites – only 15 words please. LOL. People rarely talk to each other. People sit side by side and send each other emails. People get really, really bored with context, ‘just give me the bottom line’. People use face book just to stroke their own ego. I asked the new Dr. ‘what does this mean for the big charities who I are believed to be altruistic organisations. The bad news is that ‘successful’ charities can be/may be mainly transactional now, and essentially, not a little bit altruistic. Their people employed to work, principally, for money. Ergo, their people who are altruistic in the ‘caring’ services/businesses may not be valued or even appointed. Just, ” You pay me loads of dosh and I will get you loads of contracts”. (Implications for the business not good in a selfish context?)

    But….what happens to our sons and daughters when no one needs to give a shit about anyone else, in return for money and over heads are slimmer and slimmer…………………………….

    …………We get technology as carer. Altruism micro chipped …a brave new world ……………………..indeed.

    • I am old enough to remember when people with LD were not seen deemed worthy enough to be educated. I can remember as a child seeing disabled children and young adults sitting at the windows of their parents houses just looking out at the outside world. They were in our community yet lived on the edges of it. They were to be feared and perhaps they were not quite ‘like us’. Do they feel? Have they emotions?

      When I gave birth to my own disabled son in the seventies (who was oxygen starved), the world was changing. He would be educated and how he loived his special school and the lovely people working there. He even went to college because now in the nineties everything was changing for the better. I can answer the questions I had as a child. Yes my son feels. He has emotions. In fact his emotions are exactly the same as everyone else’s.. However the services provided by our local LA were now being squeezed and now we are being transported back to the forties. Does he feel? Has he emotions? The new providers of care have taken us back to the dark ages.

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