Category: Adult Social care – Camphill Communities

Camphill Blair Drummond care home

Sadly, abuse was reported yesterday in a Steiner care home, also known as “Camphill”.

This most recent report is of a young man who was in the care of staff at Camphill Blair Drummond care home near Stirling in Scotland. The upsetting details of his treatment at the hands of those who call themselves “spiritual” are detailed in i News and on the Stirling News website, which states that

Officials from the Care Inspectorate visited on April 27 and found many areas of concern, particularly that on the days when he refused to go into the dining area he was deprived of food and water, became hungry and thirsty and was at risk of dehydration.

The parents said

they had informed staff that their son had previously suffered from severe anxiety when eating in crowded rooms due to his autism – and were assured he would be allowed to eat where he liked.

He also

received his medication on an empty stomach, which medical guidance states should always be given with food.

His parents, who were his welfare guardians, had not been consulted about changes to his care plan, nor any of the external professionals involved in developing the strategies.

It is a distressing account of how badly an individual may be treated by people who use anthroposophy as their guide when working with those in their care. One of the distinctive features of Camphill Communities is the way meals are taken together as a group – indeed it is often used as a selling point. Steiner Prayers are said at the table. It is part of the “ethos” – sometimes described as Christian, but in fact unique to Steiner “settings”. According to the reports these parents had made specific requests about mealtimes due to their son’s difficulties, and these had been agreed but were not adhered to.

The parents remarked

“If you look on their website, they say a lot about treating people as individuals. But as time went on, we found that wasn’t what was happening”

“Staff at Camphill Blair Drummond seemed to assume that, if only they bullied him hard enough, Lewis would be able to eat communally as they desired.”

“They failed to consider the devastating effects on his health and his quality of life.”

Time and again the Steiner movement fail to live up to their lofty promises. They view their creed as a superior worldview, yet when it comes to the practicalities of life, it is found sadly lacking.

Camphills, like Steiner schools, are a trap for any family that is not fully informed about how anthroposophy will be used.