Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 27 Mar 2019
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mrs A’s complaint about being coerced into a care home in 2017. This is because any further investigation by the Ombudsman is unlikely to be able to add to the Council’s response or make a different finding of the kind Mrs A wants.
- Mrs A says she was coerced into a care home in 2017 and her dog had to go into kennels because the Council could not find suitable care provision for her at home. Mrs A says her carers in the home have been changed because she was deemed too reliant on them and is not supported with her dietary needs or going out in the community. Mrs A says she has been forced to have podiatry treatment and medication against her will and wants the Council to support her to return home with an appropriate package of care.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
- it is unlikely we would find fault, or
- the fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained, or
- the injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement, or
- it is unlikely we could add to any previous investigation by the Council, or
- it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome, or
- we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I considered the information Mrs A provided. I sent Mrs A a copy of my draft decision for comment.
What I found
- The Council responded to Mrs A’s concerns. It says Mrs A was placed in nursing care home in March 2017 and parted from dog because care agencies were unable to provide package of care to meet needs in her home. It says since then it has arranged three discharge dates with different care agencies but Mrs A has refused them.
- The Council says there has been no change to staffing structures on nursing unit but staff rotate from side to side. It explained Mrs A cannot be forced to take her medication, she can refuse it and can ask for a review.
- The Council says staff offer Mrs A assistance to make telephone calls/turn her TV and fan off and on but does not offer one to one support to access the community. It acknowledged Mrs A accesses the community occasionally and goes to her home with support from friend.
- The Council explained the care homes policy that if a resident is unwell it will call GP and next of kin. It says it offers a choice of meals but Mrs A prefers own food.
- The Council says Mrs A requires podiatry service. The Podiatrist says Mrs A gave verbal consent before commencing treatment.
- The Council says it has a further meeting arranged in new year to look at return home. I understand Mrs A has now returned home.
- The Ombudsman could not add to the Council’s responses or make a different finding even if he investigated.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because any further investigation by the Ombudsman is unlikely to be able to add to the Council’s response or make a different finding of the kind Mrs A wants.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman