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Category : Adult care services > Domiciliary care

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 10 Aug 2017


A man complains the council placed his wife in a care home for 10 months because there was no home care available.

The complaint

The man complains his wife was placed on a dementia ward, despite the fact she does not have the condition, after she was discharged from hospital because there were no carers available to look after her at home. He had to make a long round trip every day to see his wife. He also complained his wife missed out on benefits while living in the care home.


The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.


To remedy the injustice, we recommend the council:

  • pay £750 to the man to reflect his distress;
  • pay £1,000 to the woman to reflect her distress; and
  • refund the man's travel expenses based on the council’s rate for mileage.

The council has accepted the above recommendations.

The council’s correspondence suggests there may be others in the same situation as the couple. So we are making wider recommendations to remedy injustice to others who have not complained. We recommend the council does the following:

  • Review any short-term residential care placements between the start of the new home care contract and the date of this report to establish whether they were deficit beds* and if they were, whether the placement was for more than the Council’s short-term care period of eight weeks. If the deficit placement was for longer than eight weeks, the Council should consider payments for avoidable distress and/or travelling expenses where appropriate. The council has accepted this recommendation.
  •  For those people it identifies as still being in deficit beds for longer than eight weeks, the council should take all reasonable steps to source suitable home care providers and ensure care and support plans are up to date.
  • Report back to us within three months on points on its review and the steps it has taken.

(*When commissioning residential care for a person which may be because there is no home care available, the council uses the term ‘deficit bed’.)

Ombudsman satisfied with council's response: 8 December 2017.


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