Darlington Borough Council (23 008 188)

Category : Adult care services > Residential care

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 15 Oct 2023

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about poor care provided to Mr X’s mother by her care home. This is because the Council agreed to resolve the complaint early by providing a proportionate remedy for the injustice caused.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains about poor care provided to his mother by her care home. He also complains about the Council’s response to its investigation report that found his late mother’s care was inadequate.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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’. If there has been fault which has caused significant injustice, or that could cause injustice to others in the future we may suggest a remedy. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered information provided by the complainant and the Council.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mr X’s mother, Mrs A, was in a care home.
  2. If we were to investigate, it is likely we would find fault causing an injustice. This is because the Council has accepted there was fault in relation to care provided to Mrs A following a fall. It also found there was poor recording keeping and a failure by the care home to notify Mrs A’s family of the fall immediately.
  3. The Council did not uphold the other elements of Mr X’s complaints, which related to:
    • The care home’s management of Mrs A’s nutrition and weight.
    • The Council not appropriately supporting or communicating with Mrs A’s family after several safeguarding incidents were reported.
  4. Following its investigation, the Council agreed to reimburse Mrs A’s client contributions between end of January and beginning of February. The Council also waived the outstanding fees. This totals to just over £340.
  5. However, I consider there is still significant injustice remaining to Mrs A’s family which has not been remedied. This is because the situation with Mrs A’s fall and inadequate care provided following the fall would undoubtedly have caused them distress.
  1. We therefore asked the Council to consider remedying the injustice caused to Mrs A’s family by making a symbolic financial payment of £300.

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Agreed action

  1. To its credit, the Council agreed to resolve the complaint and will complete the above within four weeks of the final decision.

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Final decision

  1. We have upheld this complaint because the Council agreed to resolve the complaint early by providing a proportionate remedy for the injustice caused.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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