Ealing woman neglected in care home

An elderly lady was forced to remain in an Ealing care home where she was neglected, the Local Government Ombudsman has heard.

The woman, who suffers from dementia and Parkinson’s disease, was placed in a care home in the borough when she left hospital after a fall.

The woman’s niece raised concerns about the care home and asked the council to move her aunt to a different home. But the council decided to make the placement permanent without any prior consultation. The council then took nine months to agree a move to the home chosen by the family.

During the time she was in the care home, the woman suffered neglect. The woman and her room smelled of urine, and staff failed to properly administer her medication which she was prescribed for her dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.

In addition, the council’s finance team delayed telling the woman’s niece about, and invoicing her for, her contribution to the home’s fees.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman said:

“I find that not only was the family denied the chance to make decisions about the care their relative received, but the care that was ultimately provided fell way short of what she should have expected and deserved.

“Although these failings occurred in a care home, I find the council ultimately responsible. The law is clear on this: it says that the actions of the care provider shall be treated as actions of or on behalf of the council.”

A copy of the investigation report has been shared with the Care Quality Commission.

To remedy the situation, the council has agreed to apologise to the woman and her niece and pay the niece £500 to reflect the distress and time and trouble caused.

The council has also agreed to pay the woman £2,350 (equal to 50 per cent of the charge) to reflect her distress in receiving poor care, offset against any money she owes the council.

Article date: 19 December 2013