Category Archives: Nursing and care homes

West Sussex Care Home abuse

Sussex Care Homes Under Investigation

Sussex police are investigating two disability care homes in Sussex in response to ‘significant safeguarding concerns’ after a number of reported deaths.

If you are worried about the care and safety of a loved one in a care home we offer free, confidential advice with no obligations whatsoever. Contact us now on 01535 958 778.

The care homes under investigation are The Laurels and Orchard Lodge, both in Horsham, West Sussex. Both homes cater for people with learning disabilities. They are part of a group of care homes owned and run by Sussex Health Care. A spokesperson for Sussex Care Homes said:” Sussex Health Care is working openly with the police and West Sussex County Council to support their current investigation.

“We are committed to assisting them in any way we can and positively await the conclusion and the outcome of the investigation”.

West Sussex County Council had alerted the Care Quality Commission who have since carried out inspections of the homes.

Police investigation

Sussex police are investigating whether any criminal offences may have occurred and have met with the relatives of residents whose deaths in the homes the police ‘may be investigating’.

West Sussex County Council said they have no plans to move any residents but have put in place ‘robust safeguarding plans’ and will keep the situation under continuous review. They have advised any other local authorities and organisations that have placed people in these homes of the concerns and asked them to  review their placements.

Full report will be published

 Debbie Ivanova, deputy chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission added that a full report, detailing CQC findings and any enforcement action against the provider, will be published once the investigation is over.

Concerned? Seek advice

If you are worried about the safety and care of a loved one then we will be happy to give you a free, totally confidential, consultation. If you want to consider using for compensation we of course will be happy to advise if you have a case to answer, after all that is our business!  But we are also perfectly happy to give you whatever advice we can to help you with whatever concerns you may have, irrespective of whether you intend to make a claim. Abuse and neglect in nursing and care homes is a dreadful thing and we are keen to do whatever we can to tackle this awful phenomenon.

We are very experienced in all types of care home abuse and neglect.

For free initial advice please call 01535 958 778, email us, or use the contact form on this page.

Stark regional variation in Care Home Quality revealed

Care Home quality varies starkly across UK

A report from the charity Independent Age has highlighted wide variations in services across the country.

Independent Age director of policy Simon Bottery said ‘councils must demonstrate that they understand the reasons for care home failures and are working to resolve them’.

The report revealed something of a North South divide, Stockport had the highest proportion with 62% of care homes rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission.

Whereas in southern parts of the country Islington, the Isles of Scilly, and Rutland – had no poorly performing care homes in their areas, while Richmond upon Thames, and Thurrock Council had 2.3% and 2.9% respectively.

Government and local authorities not taking crisis seriously enough

Simon Bottery, the director of policy for Independent Age said their research showed that central government and local authorities were not giving the problem of poor or inadequate care homes seriously and were not giving this ‘the attention it desrves’.

A perfect storm of pressures on care home providers

Margaret Willcox, president elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said that although local councils should take the findings ‘very seriously’ in the end it was ‘the way in which services are run by providers that is the most critical factor in ensuring a high quality of care’.

She said ‘Reductions in funding, increased demand by people living longer and with more complex needs, and the cost of the national living wage, while welcome, are putting significant pressures on councils and providers who are finding it hard to recruit and retain staff, especially in home care in those areas of high employment.’

This article draws substantially upon an article published in Nursing Times

Homecare – BBC report

Shocking levels of Homecare abuse reported to local authorities across the UK

Homecare neglect

Most care at home is safe and reports of abuse are relatively rare. However 23,500 allegations were made in the last 3 years.

We need carers to help older and vulnerable adults safely looked after at what is widely seen as the best place for them – at home. It is essential that such an intimate service is done sensitively in a professional and caring way.

However new figures the BBC have obtained show that over 23,500 allegations of abuse have been made to councils all over the UK in the last three years. But only a tiny number of perpetrators are held to account. The overwhelming majority of abuse is criminal in nature and never gets prosecuted.

Care is often arranged through the local authority using an external agency. So the care worker is working on behalf of local councils who are responsible for safeguarding. Experts say cuts to local authority care funding, unmanageable workloads and poor training are contributing to the toll of abuse. So how can families be assured that their family member is in safe hands?

Harrowing examples of abuse have been uncovered, one leading to criminal prosecution for ill treatment and wilful neglect resulting in the maximum available jail sentence.

A fragmented and underfunded system

Bridget Warr chief executive of the UK Homecare Association (UKHA), which represents 2,000 agencies has pointed out that “any incidents of abuse or neglect is awful… the vast majority of home care is good or excellent so we are talking about a…small minority.” “The whole… challenge of too little money in the system… absolutely needs to be investigated and put right.”

Types of abuse ranged from financial, physical and psychological, to even sexual abuse, but more than half of the alerts were about neglect, which is a very broad term. It can veer into violence and cruelty but the threshold at which it’s reported can vary widely between different local councils.

‘Conveyor belt care’ can lead to neglect

Why should allegations of neglect be so common? Pressure on carers may be a cause, and in 2016 NICE* issued guidelines intended to end Homecare visits of less than 30 minutes for such tasks as eating, washing and getting out of bed. But there is clear evidence that 15 minute calls are still taking place, this puts great pressure on the carer, old people are slow and it’s all too easy to lose patience and rush the old person. Unions also point out that many carers don’t even get the minimum wage as they aren’t paid for travel time between visits. All this can add up to great pressure on the carer to rush to get to the next appointment and not take the care needed or even grab their ward to hurry them up.

According to a survey carried out by UKHA show that a very large proportion of local authorities are still using 15 minute visits, 70% are commissioning visit of less than 30 minutes, one local authority admits that 40% of visits they commission are for 15 minutes or less.

50% of UKHA’s members stated they were worried that such short visits could compromise safety and dignity. Chief Executive Bridget Warr said “To maintain people’s dignity and safety you need much longer visits for people who need that sort of care”.

Extraordinary lack of prosecutions

Disciplinary action took place in only 8% of alerts raised across the UK. Police were involved in nearly 700 cases and out of the 23,500 alerts raised only 15 prosecutions were brought.

Gary Fitzgerald Chief Executive Action on Elder Abuse said that “The overwhelming majority of abuse is criminal in nature and never gets prosecuted… Even if it gets to court you’re more likely to see community service given or a suspended sentence given than actually sending those people to prison.”

The Local Government Ombudsman, Michael King, is the last resort for people complaining about Homecare. His service has seen the number of complaints rose by 25% last year and he is upholding two thirds of them. He sends a very strong message to councils

“You can outsource the care contract but you can’t outsource your responsibility to make sure people are cared for properly”.

But in complex outsourcing arrangements important messages and information can get lost resulting in poor or inappropriate care, such as wrong medication or missed visits.

“State neglect”

The BBC programme ‘File on Four’ commented “Local authorities and care agencies throughout the UK reckoned the roots of neglect are in diminishing resources from central government”. However the Department of Health counters that it is increasing funding for social care and has brought in tougher inspection of care services. The programme reported hearing that some Homecare agencies are closing and others are handing their contracts back to local councils, which leaves councils with little choice about what agencies they can use. Councillor Izzy Secom from the Local Government Association said  ‘we have to accept that if we squeeze the money so much people will stop providing care… it is a very difficult situation to be in”.

Funding will be even tighter in 2020 when central government withdraws all its central grant to councils. Whilst Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the government is looking at solutions to the funding of Social Care no details are forthcoming.

Bridget Warr of UKHA said “If the funding doesn’t improve I am deeply worried. We are already seeing in some rural areas that there is no Homecare provider covering that area… If we don’t do something led by government pretty soon we are going to see some very serious risks… We are talking about state neglect when we looking at what’s happening with the funding at the moment”.

This article is based on the BBC radio 4 programme File On Four ‘Neglect:The Story of UK Homecare’, first broadcast on Tuesday 28th February 2017.
*The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

Jeremy Corbyn Suggests Failing Nursing Homes Be Taken Into Public Ownership

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has recently suggested that failing Nursing Homes should be taken into public ownership

The suggestion was made in the context of the growing concerns from both Local Authorities and the NHS about Social Care provision for elderly and infirm members of the community.

The speech was made to the Fabian Society and Mr Corbyn said the present social care system is at risk of breakdown unless the Government invests more money in the sector

He also pointed out recent figures from the Care Quality Commission which found that in the last year one in five nursing homes simply did not have enough staff on duty to ensure that residents obtained the care and attention which they needed.

As a result of this analysis Mr Corbyn indicated that if a Care Home failed in the future leaving residents at risk of being homeless then he said a future Labour Government would take failed care homes into public ownership to maintain social care protection.

If you have concerns about the care offered to a loved one in a care or nursing home please contact us. We are specialist Solicitors in this area and ofer for free confidential no obligation advice on 01535958778 or 07821809843.

Care Home closures putting vulnerable elderly people at risk

National Living Wage and Council budgets force care home closures

The care home watchdogs, the CQC (Care Quality Commission) have warned that closures of care homes is putting vulnerable elderly people at risk. The CQC identified the closures as resulting from providers withdrawing from the market, as they can no longer make enough money due to the introduction of the national living wage and cash strapped councils having to cut costs.

7.6% drop in number of care home beds in UK

Care home beds have dropped from 255,289 in 2010 to 235,799 a drop of 19,490. This is at a time when we are seeing an unprecedented increase in demand, a demand that is set to increase for the foreseeable future. Over the same period of time 1 in 10 care homes have closed.

Care sector ‘as a whole’ is at risk

Andrea Sutcliffe, the CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care said “We know that the adult social care sector faces many financial pressures which, worryingly, could undermine the quality and safety of care that people receive and rely upon every day,” Sutcliffe went on to state that information from the care providers “does highlight a concern that the long-term sustainability of high-quality care within this sector could be at risk.”

Specialist legal advice

O’Neill Injury Solicitors specialise in representing people who have suffered neglect or abuse in a nursing or care home. If you suspect that a friend or loved one may be suffering in this way please contact us for a free, confidential consultation. We are experts in this difficult area and will give you our best advice, including whether there may be grounds to claim compensation for your friend or loved one.

Please contact us now for a free consultation; 01535 958778, email us or use the form on the right of our web pages.

Half Leeds Private Care Homes below standard

The Care Home watchdog, the CQC, have only rated half of the private care homes in Leeds as ’Good’. The majority of the rest ‘require improvement’ with a minority rated as ‘inadequate’.

This was revealed by Leeds Councillor Peter Gruen a member of the Health Scrutiny Board in a letter to the Yorkshire Post on the 8th September.

Councillor Gruen reported that the Councils’ Adult Care Service had suspended placements to homes in the few cases where further action was needed.

As more and more of us will have to make the difficult and emotional choice to commit our loved ones to a care home. Being able to choose a care home that is within easy visiting distance can make a big difference to this difficult decision. This would be made easier if we could rely on local care homes  being ‘good’, or even ‘outstanding’. Sadly it seems that Leeds has a long way to go before that will be the case for the majority of people.

Councillor Gruen commented that ‘The reasons for such sluggish performance are also consistent – inferior leadership, insufficient care and quality and not sufficiently good relationships with residents.’

Councillor Gruen went on to note that all three council run homes achieved ‘good’ ratings and called on private providers to step up their commitment to leadership, supervision and resources and give Leeds residents the quality of care homes they need.

Bradford Home Care System ‘On Brink of Collapse’ says Councillor

The Council services offering home support to the elderly and vulnerable are on the brink of collapse according to a Bradford Councillor, Jackie Whiteley

The claim came when a major firm decided to pull its services from Bradford district indicating the hourly rates paid by the Council were too low.

The Care provider Seva Care told Bradford Telegraph and Argus that the Council rates fell below national guidelines

This is the second care provider to leave the Bradford District after Hica Care withdrew last year.

The Council Deputy Leader Val Slater accused Mrs Whiteley of scaremongering and said that the new social care levy on council tax would raise a further £3 million for the district which would be used in full to raise the hourly carer rate.

Whatever the truth of the dispute the fact remains that if too few carers are offered to vulnerable groups the prospect of care being insufficient and negligent is high.

Further details can be found at /http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/local/localbrad/14629040.Home_care_crisis_warning_sparks_political_fallout/

Staff at Nursing Home accused of Neglect of Grandfather

A Grandfather was found to be so badly malnourished in a nursing home that his death sparked an investigation about the level of care being offered.

The Woodbury Care Home in Swallowfield Berkshire was accused of negligence and neglect as they were investigated by Police.

The neglect came to light when he was admitted to hospital and the extent of the lack of care was revealed.

According to his family that his foot was left to be eaten by maggots and additionally he was severely malnourished and dehydrated.

His shocked family could not believe the condition he was in when he was admitted to hospital.

The family have brought in specialist lawyers to investigate what happened.

Further details can be found on

.htmlhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3577366/Grandfather-89-neglected-care-home-staff-infestation-maggots-living-skin.html

Comment on this Case: This appalling case shows the extent to which poor training and supervision can cause problems in nursing and care homes. It is vitally important to get the advice and assistance of specialist personal injury lawyers who deal regularly with such cases to ensure that the proper investigation required takes place.

If you have any concerns about any nursing or care home please contact us for free confidential and practical advice on 01535958778 or (out of hours) 07821809843 as necessary

Staff Ignored Infected Bedsores at Nursing Home Causing Death and £20,000 Compensation

Staff at a nursing home in Lichfield failed to notice infected bedsores on a resident leading to her eventual death.

This tragic case shows the vital importance of identifying bedsores and acting quickly.

Mfanwy Osborne (83 years and herself a retired matron had only been at the residential home for a short period but after three months she was rushed to hospital when the pressure sores she was suffering became infected.

She died subsequently  and Beechfields Nursing Home in Lichfield have subsequently paid out £20,000 in compensation to the bereaved family.

Further details on this case can be found here:  http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/mum-died-neglect-after-developing-11394804

Comment on this case: Pressure sores and bedsores are often seen by staff and public as less important than other types of problems and injuries. Apart from the fact that they are acutely painful they can have tragic consequences as noted here.

If you have any concerns about a loved one in residential care please do contact us for free confidential advice on the best ways to resolve the matter. Our contact number is 01535958778 or (out of hours) 07821809843

Keighley Care Home to Take Action to Improve

A Keighley care home which was judged as having to improve by the independent regulator the Care Quality Commission has said that they have put plans in place to tackle the issues raised by the review.

The Housing and Care 21 scheme is based at Staveley Court in Ingrow received a recent rating saying that they should make improvements.

The main areas which required to be improved were record keeping and the administration of medicines. The staff assist residents in their medication in some cases.

The report did say that the staff provided a good level of care but there was room for improvement.

The Housing and Care 21 management said that schemes were in place to implement new and improved systems.