Am I at the end of the line with my safeguarding complaint?

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Coulddobetter, May 13, 2017.

  1. Coulddobetter

    Coulddobetter Registered User

    Oct 19, 2016
    54
    To cut a very long story short. My wonderful Mum who had moderate AD fell in a care home during a week's respite and fractured her other hip. After 9 weeks in hospital during which she became doubly incontinent, failed to regain mobility and her dementia advanced considerably, she was discharged to a nursing home as she was now beyond the care of family and domiciliary careers.
    I notified CQC and local authority(LA)on the day of Mum's fall as a safeguarding issue. Mum in same clothes she had arrived in three days earlier, had not been in bed at all in the hours leading to the fall which happened at 6am, and when I arrived at the home to await ambulance she was completely unattended by staff.
    The LA opened a safeguarding enquiry but two months later closed it as were satisfied with care home's response, I requested they forward me the documents. When I looked at the docs I found that the falls risk assessment was dated retrospectively, interviews with staff about the fall were carried out 5 days later etc So I made a complaint to the LA about their safeguarding enquiry. In the light of my complaint the LA informed me two months later that they had made further recommendations to the service provider and conceded that more could have been done at the safeguarding enquiry stage to ensure it was as robust as possible. Not satisfied with this I contacted the Local Government Ombudsman(LGO) who pursued my complaint against the service provider and the LA. THe LGO has just recently made a decision. Both have to apologise for distress and uncertainty caused, and the care provider has to compensate Mum and I to the tune of £500. My main issue with this is that the LA have no minutes or written record of the safeguarding team's resolution meeting which took the decision that the care provider had responded satisfactorily to their enquiry, the LGO had requested these but the LA informed the LGO they had none. It seems to me they have not taken their safeguarding responsibilities seriously at all!!
    THe thing is what can I do now, or am I at the end of my campaign??If I pursue this legally I risk using my Mum's funds, her only asset,the family home, was sold last autumn, hence Mum is self-funding, so I will be risking her capital. ALso might not have the support of my siblings who have shown no interest in this at all really. Any advice please.
    PS This is my first post.
     
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,774
    Salford
    Hi Coulddobetter, welcome to TP
    I saw a woman in a care home have a fall about 4 hours ago, it wasn't the first time and it probably won't be the last. I was sat about 4 feet away when she stood up, wobbled a bit then fell, even though I could see what was about to happen there was nothing I could do. It was one of those moments when life goes into slow motion like a car crash.
    I've no idea what caused her to fall she's normally very steady on her feet, maybe she got up a bit quick and went dizzy, who knows.
    The staff were all over her in a flash but none of them could have done anything to prevent it, I was the nearest person and I couldn't get there.
    Sadly in an EMI nursing home setting falls happen as many of the residents are at the more severely impaired end of the scale.
    If you were to sue you'd have to prove some sort of neglect took place, the home will have the evidence that the CQC and the LBO believe that all there procedures are in line with what the law requires, so I don't see how you can win.
    I shouldn't happen but it does happen, other than sitting everyone down all the time what else could the home do? I accept my wife is a bit wobbly sometimes but she insists on walking round all the time so it's almost inevitable she's going to have the odd fall sometime.
    If you do tell the home you're going to sue them don't be surprised if they give you notice to move her just in case she has another fall and you sue them twice.
    K
     
  3. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    1,953
    It wasn't what you wanted but in terms of how the "system" works, you've already won. The Ombudsman found in your favour - which is relatively rare. The LA will be at least as aware of that judgement as of any other penalty that could be levied.

    I think you need to work out before doing anything else exactly what changes you want the LA and care provider to makes, so that no-one else experiences the harm your Mum did. If you think there's any chance of getting a more active and positive response from the Social Services Manager at the LA and perhaps the senior management of the care provider (at the home or in head office), then try what a quiet approach will do.

    If the quiet approach isn't likely to work, how about sending a copy of the Ombudsman judgement and your firm requests for specific changes in behaviour / follow up of administrative shortcomings to everyone at the Local Authority (officers and councillors) who play a part in social care decisions? Also, how about sending the same information to your local parliamentary candidates? And the local press?
     
  4. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,044
    Staffs
    Hi Coulddobetter and welcome to TP,

    I think you have done very well indeed to get this far. I hope the LA and the Care Home actually do as they have been told but be aware they cannot be forced to do as the LGO have said.

    I believe the LA Safeguarding enquiry was always going to close early due to your Mum no longer being at the CH or going to go back there and therefore no longer a Safeguarding issue.

    Have the CQC got involved at all?

    There are numerous "No Win No Fee" companies out there if you can take your own legal action against the Home without risking any of your Mum's funds.

    Good Luck.

    :)
     
  5. Coulddobetter

    Coulddobetter Registered User

    Oct 19, 2016
    54
    Thanks Kevinl for replying, and for the welcome.

    I know elderly people are a falls risk, but Mum was at huge risk of falling there because for the 72 hours she was there she barely slept, ate or drank, she had literally been up and about in an agitated state for 24 hours prior to her fall. I believe she had been neglected and the care home used Mum's non-compliance as a defence. We took it in turns to ring to check on her and the true picture was never communicated to us, had we known we would have removed her. The only time the care home initiated contact was at 6am on 25 August to inform she had fallen, and they had rung the ambulance. Incidentally, the ambulance didn't arrive for over an hour I had to insist they chased it up when I arrived at the home.

    Mum now resides in a completely different setting. There was no way we would have entertained the idea of placing her there after hospital.
     
  6. Coulddobetter

    Coulddobetter Registered User

    Oct 19, 2016
    54
    Thank you AlsoConfused for your sage advice.

    I have thought about contacting the local press because of the failings of the safeguarding team's enquiry, and the absence of any minutes of the resolution meeting. Doesn't inspire public confidence does it? I have wondered if this had been about a child, rather than a vulnerable adult, would they have approached things differently???

    Had also thought about my MP, but not local councillors, so thanks for that. The LA will get a copy of the LGOs judgement directly, but may not share this with councillors.

    Wouldn't want anyone else have to have to go through this. Has had a massive impact on my Mum, her quality of life very much diminished. I fear for those with dementia who don't have advocates.
     
  7. Coulddobetter

    Coulddobetter Registered User

    Oct 19, 2016
    54
    Hello Pete R,
    Really appreciate your supportive comments - more validation than I have ever received from my siblings! I'd do a smiley here if I knew how.

    QQC contacted me last September, however as their website makes clear, they do not investigate complaints on behalf of service users, it is not in their remit. They have however recently inspected the service provider of Mum's respite care, which may or my not be connected to my safeguarding complaint. They judged it to be RI. This was its first inspection, it only opened in Spring last year.

    Haven't discounted using a solicitor, however it is finding one with a specialism in this area, did have a discussion with a company last week. A bit of a niche area really.
     
  8. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,044
    Staffs
    Unfortunately CQC are continuing to spew out this nonsense and if you look further into their website they will say the opposite. Here is a list of their prosecutions.....
    http://www.cqc.org.uk/search/site/p...itude=&sort=default&la=&distance=15&mode=html

    In April 2015 certain powers previously open to other agencies were transferred to CQC and the link below shows who should investigate what.
    http://www.ridout-law.com/caring-ti...alth-safety-sentencing-guidelines-begin-bite/



    Just do a search for "care home neglect lawyers" and some of the ones on the first page have been quite successful.
    :)
     
  9. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    1,953
    So do I. I also fear for myself in the future (my relatives live over 100 miles away from me, friends are obviously about my age and their children will be far too busy looking after them to take on non-relatives as well) ...
     
  10. nmintueo

    nmintueo Registered User

    Jun 28, 2011
    847
    UK
    I understand Coulddobetter's point, but I don't follow how CQC "say the opposite"; there's a list of prosecutions, but I don't see where it says they came about through CQC taking up complaints on behalf of members of the public complaining to CQC.

    Complain about a service or provider
    http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/complain-about-service-or-provider

    Complaints to providers – and why we can’t take them up on your behalf

    If you’ve experienced or seen poor care, you have a right to feed back or complain to the organisation that provided or paid for the care.

    We can’t make these complaints for you or take them up on your behalf. That may seem confusing but it’s because we don’t have powers to investigate or resolve them.

    The only exception to this is for people whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.​



    Report a concern if you are a member of the public
    http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/report-concern-if-you-are-member-public

    If you've experienced or seen poor care, you have a right to feed back or complain to the organisation that provided or paid for the care. We can’t make these complaints for you or take them up on your behalf. That may seem confusing but it's because we don't have powers to investigate or resolve them.​
     
  11. Coulddobetter

    Coulddobetter Registered User

    Oct 19, 2016
    54
    Thanks PeteR,

    Unaware that CQC did prosecute. HAving had a cursory look at the list of prosecutions a number involved fatalities, and there was at least one service provider prosecuted that I have seen on regional news. Must have to be fairly high profile to warrant their involvement.

    BTW have made some tentative enquiries by email to some solicitors'. We'll see... Don't know if I have the energy for the fight. Has taken 9 months to get to this point.

    NMintueo: Those were the 'disclaimers' from CQC I read on their website when I notified them of my Mum's experience!!
     
  12. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,774
    Salford
    I don't think too many High Street solicitors would take on an issue like this, it's very specialist and a whole lot of their time (and your money) would go on them looking up an area of law they're possibly not conversant with, divorces and house sales transactions fine, but medical claims are a specialist area.
    If you find someone to take the case on you'll have to pay whether you win or lose although if you win you could apply for costs. Anyone taking the case on as a "no win no fee" would first want to check they had a better than average chance of winning otherwise they won't take the case on.
    The money (it seems to me) awarded to you by the LGO "The LGO has just recently made a decision. Both have to apologise for distress and uncertainty caused, and the care provider has to compensate Mum and I to the tune of £500" isn't an admission that the fall was their fault just an acknowledgement that the way your complaint was handled and the way you were treated caused you both distress.
    At worst you could lose and the home/LA apply for costs against you and that could be a lot of money.
    I'd make sure it's sound legal advise from an expert in the field before you make a decision.
    K
     
  13. Coulddobetter

    Coulddobetter Registered User

    Oct 19, 2016
    54
    Thanks for your cautionary advice Kevinl.

    No, I wouldn't instruct a solicitor without thinking carefully through the pros and cons.

    That said, I am still very angry about what happened to my Mum. I took her to her respite care. Mum was fully mobile, lucid and only had some urinary incontinence, she had to wear pads. When I accompanied her to hospital in the ambulance three days later she was still in the same clothes, had on a soiled pad, was delirious with the pain and shock, and over 9 weeks later was completely immobile, more weight loss down, to 35 kg, doubly incontinent and at the advanced dementia stage, thought she was being discharged to her home which she described as her childhood home! She had never talked in those terms before.

    I mind very much that I cannot easily take her out of the home, as she needs a wheelchair accessible taxi, I cannot put her in my car, on advice from staff at her nursing home, and that she is in permanent care, something neither she nor I ever wanted.
     
  14. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    1,953
    So sorry, I can feel the pain behind your words. At least you've done your very best to protect her and any others at risk in the future. Sometimes the only comfort is how hard we've tried to make things right.
     
  15. Coulddobetter

    Coulddobetter Registered User

    Oct 19, 2016
    54
    Such empathy AlsoConfused. Thank you for those kind words.

    I'm not finished yet, but closer to the end with my complaint.
     
  16. Coulddobetter

    Coulddobetter Registered User

    Oct 19, 2016
    54
    Reached the end of my complaint at the end of June. Just to reiterate, the LGO found fault with the nursing home that provided the respite and the local authority. Did however insist that both should apologise to Mum as well as myself notwithstanding Mum's advanced dementia status.

    Made some tentative approaches to no win no fee solicitors but as the LGO's decision was that there was no certainty Mum's fall could have been prevented, then it seemed fairly futile to proceed. Also after 10 months of dealing with this complaint didn't really have the fight left in me.
     
  17. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    1,953
    You're being very sensible. It's so hard to stop fighting even when your head tells you that's the only wise thing to do. Sympathies.
     

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