Care home owners refuse to refund family despite investigation finding mother was neglected

A Yorkshire care provider has been heavily criticised by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman after workers abused and neglected an elderly resident in the Bradford home it ran.

The woman, who had dementia, moved to live in Hawthornes Care Home, run by Burlington Care, after her husband became seriously ill.

While living in the home the woman was subject to verbal abuse and rough handling and was left unattended for long periods. Her daughters said she was often left fully clothed in bed, her room smelled of urine, and on one occasion faeces was seen under her nails.

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

“Choosing a care home can be an incredibly stressful time for families. Relatives want to know they are choosing a place where their loved one is cared for in the best possible way.

“It is then all-the-more distressing when their loved one is let down by the very people who should be looking after them properly. In this case, this woman’s care fell below the basic standards we would all expect for our loved ones throughout her stay, and she was not treated with empathy, compassion or respect.

“I asked Burlington Care Ltd to waive the full care fees for the few months she lived in their home. I am issuing this report because the provider has instead offered a derisory one week’s refund. This is not good enough and does not show sufficient appreciation of the serious impact its lack of care had on this woman and her family.”

The woman’s daughters live some distance away from their mother. They became concerned about the quality of care their mother was receiving and hid a recording device in her room. When they listened to the recording, they heard verbal abuse from one of her care workers.

The recording also showed their mother was left unattended for 12 hours.

The daughters complained to the care home, and its own internal investigation found the care plan it had for the woman was poor, that there had been no evidence her room had been deep cleaned or the beds changed, that there was evidence the woman often put herself to bed fully clothed and it was likely she slept in her clothes.

The investigation also found that faeces was found under her nails due to a lack of personal care and that there was no evidence of interaction between the woman and her care workers.

A safeguarding investigation by the local council agreed there had been poor care provision, inadequate leadership, probable neglect and a disregard for the woman’s dignity. It also found that during internal inspections staff were encouraged to keep the woman out of the inspector’s way.

To address the findings of both investigations, the care provider said a number of measures had been put in place, including dismissing a care worker, appointing a new manager and that training had taken place.

Because the provider has failed to comply with the recommendations, the Ombudsman has issued a public report, or Adverse Findings Notice against the provider. The report has also been shared with care regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

Further information about the care provider can be found at the Care Quality Commission's provider page.

Article date: 20 December 2019

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