Social workers should have done more to ensure man received appropriate care

Social workers in Northamptonshire did not do enough to ensure a care home implemented a vulnerable man’s care plan, a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation has found.

Despite the man’s family raising concerns about the care he was receiving, social workers did not do enough to ensure he was properly looked after by the care home he was in. The man was admitted to hospital with cellulitis six months after his family first raised their concerns.

Additionally the investigation found the council did not do enough to ensure his care bills were going to the correct address, which meant by the time he received them, a large invoice had built up.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King, said:

“Councils cannot contract out responsibility for care when they contract out the provision: poor quality care by a council-funded provider is poor quality care by the council itself.

“Although the questionable care this man received from his care home was not provided by the council, Northamptonshire County Council is directly responsible for ensuring the quality of care delivered by providers acting on its behalf.

“I’m pleased that by the end of the investigation, the council had agreed to improve its policies and procedures and provide the remedy I have recommended.”

Eighteen months after the man first moved to the care home, his daughter told the home she had concerns about his level of care. They included staff not ensuring he took his medication at the correct time, leaving him with soiled sheets or no sheets at all, not removing snacks from his room for days, and leaving him without a TV remote control for four days.

At the same time, the daughter asked the council to review her father’s care needs. His social worker identified a number of concerns about the quality and standard of care at the home and raised a safeguarding alert.

The council started a safeguarding investigation and notified the Care Quality Commission (CQC). A protection plan was drawn up for the man. However, the council failed to check that the home was implementing the man’s protection plan or that it was communicating the plan effectively with staff. The council took too long to ensure the man moved to a different room, after his room was identified as having a negative impact on him, and it did not act when an email from the care home’s director cast doubt about the existence of the plan

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to improve local public, and adult social care, services.

In this case, the council has agreed to pay the daughter £250 for the time and trouble in bringing the complaint and the father £350 for the distress.

The council has also agreed to review its invoice collection procedures to ensure action is taken at an earlier stage to prevent large arrears accumulating.

Article date: 27 February 2018