Care Home Concerns - what constitutes neglect and what do I do?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by JemJ, May 9, 2015.

  1. JemJ

    JemJ Registered User

    May 9, 2015
    Mum has been in a care home now for 2 years. It's friendly, clean and the staff, in general, appear very good. By that I mean that they are friendly and they seem to care.

    However I go in a cycle of being really annoyed with them for the state of my mum. She's lost most of her teeth, looks unkempt, is hardly washed.

    I work full time and travel one and a half hours twice a week to see her. I also pay a private carer to go in twice a week to keep an eye on things and brush her teeth etc... I'm going part time in August so that I can also go more often. In effect I'm paying out more money and reducing my income so that I can do their job for them......or that's how it seems.

    I go in cycles where I get annoyed, have a meeting with the Manager, they buck up for a bit and it all goes down hill again. The cycle is then repeated all over again.

    I went on Thurs evening evening and mum had had an accident (faeces). The care staff looked horrified when I arrived as they weren't expecting me. I'm fine that she had the accident as that's dementia for you and as mum was distressed I took over and showered her. My concern was that mum was in the same pj's as last Saturday so she probably hasn't been changed in almost a week. When I took her clothes off there was dried faeces all down the back of her legs. I had to scrub it hard to get it off - again this leads to the possibility that it could have been there for a week. When I informed the staff member that she hadn't been changed in a week and asked why, she just said sorry and looked embarrassed. It's not good enough.

    In addition she has lost a lot of teeth - no matter how often I ask them to brush her teeth twice a day, I'm not convinced it's happening.

    A couple of months ago I took her socks off to soak her feet as she seemed really unsteady and her feet and ankles had swelled so much it was frightening. She couldn't walk on them, they were bleeding. I took her out to A&E to get her sorted out before they became infected.

    These are just a few issues. I know that mum is difficult to wash and dress - she feels people are taking things off her. I asked the carers why they weren't washing and changing her and they said she doesn't like it and gets upset! The social workers advised mum went into a home (she was sectioned first) and one of the things they said was that these 'specially trained' people would know how to wash and change her etc... (the implication being that I wasn't up to the job). Ironically it's me who does it all the time.

    So, my question is: what do I do now? I've complained and had numerous meetings with the Manager, I'm at the end of my tether. I'm looking at moving mum to be nearer to me so I can see her every evening rather than twice a week. However I need to escalate my concerns. Can someone advise ?

    Also, if anyone knows of any good homes in the Altrincham area, could you let me know :mad:

  2. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    It sounds awful.
    First of all, have you followed the official complaints procedure of the care home, (I don't like writing care home as they are clearly an uncaring home) this is important if you wish to take things further up the line. You need to have a record of your complaint in writing. I would also send a copy of your complaint to the owners of the home, not just the manager. And I would send it recorded delivery.
    I would also contact social services verbally and ask for their advice, but I am really glad you are removing your mother from there.
  3. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    Hello JemJ and welcome to Talking Point.

    Care home staff are not allowed to force anyone to do something and have to accept a refusal. What they can do and should do is to keep trying and this appears to be where they are failing your Mum.

    My husband is in a nursing home caring for dementia with challenging behaviour and boy can they be challenging. This time last year I was spending all day, everyday with my husband because he was so ill and I saw how they worked through the day to get the personal care completed for all 9 men. It was always completed by bedtime and always achieved with a bit of fun, not nagging and always a promise of something nice when finished.My husband is now quite compliant though still puts up a fight when it comes to them putting a toothbrush in his mouth:)

    Have you taken a look at the daily records for your Mum to see if they are at least trying? If they are trying and failing then not good, but if they are not trying then that is wrong.

    I hope you can get it sorted and if not then maybe a change of home is the way to go. Check the policy of any new home as how they deal with difficult personal care.
  4. katie1

    katie1 Registered User

    Aug 5, 2014
    Kendal Cumbria
    Look on the CQC reports of a new home, read their mission statements, get a family support worker/social worker to go with you to look round and ask LOTS of questions letting them know that you are not happy with where your Mum is now (you don't have to give them the name)and you want her moved but that you want to keep a close eye on how things are going. You could let them know that you are making an official complaint to CQC about the other place!
    I hope you get your Mum moved rapidly but with some support and that she is able to settle into a happier and safer life that she deserves.
    If you go onto the CQC web site theres a way of reporting concerns about a specific home.
    After all you have already gone through the usual advised channels and the situation hasn't improved. Did you keep records, dates, photos? these could support your complaint to CQC
    Anyway get Mum moved asap.....make sure she is OK first Good Luck
  5. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    I'd ask how many of the carers are trained in dementia care. They all should be, apart from new recruits. It's a sign of how highly the owners and manager regard the skills needed to interact with residents with dementia as well as giving reassurance that they can do their job properly.
    I would have been very unhappy if my husband had been left in this state and he didn't always accept personal care readily.
  6. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    I would find a new home, near my home or my job and move her. (My mom's CH is a block away from home. On 5 minutes visit a day I see much more than a 1 hr weekend visit).
  7. jan.s

    jan.s Registered User

    Sep 20, 2011
    As Saffie says, I would have been very unhappy if I had found my husband in that state. He could be very difficult with personal care because he saw it as "attacking" him. I have to say the care home he was in had a fantastic way of dealing with it all, by gaining his confidence, telling him what they were doing and asking for his agreement. They knew that I didn't like to see him looking a mess, as he was always such a smart clean man.

    If it were me, I would be writing a letter, a formal complaint, to the manager and copying in the regional manager, expressing my concerns about what appears to be poor care. It's always a good excuse to say they don't want personal care, but frequently this care can be given with patience.

    I would also make sure that you visit at different times of the day and evening. Maybe if you can be there in the morning when they are supposedly washing and dressing. There is no excuse for dirty clothes from previous days.
  8. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    North East
    I would definitely take her out of there. I would get her into a home id visited at different times of the day to see what feeling I got from the place. To have her nearer you would be a total blessing in many ways. You could if you chose visit more often and you simply don't have as far to travel. In the new home see what the set up is with healthcare and what service is provided. Such as visits from the GP. Does the home have a GP visiting regularly and in the case you had with her feet and ankles swelling to bleeding point then ask what would they do in this instance. Also ask what they do with "difficult" washers. Just see if you are comfortable with all of this.

    What your mum is having now certainly doesn't seem like good care. There is usually a way to get a difficult person to wash or be washed. Always some "carrot" to be used. You seen to manage to get her sorted so I'm sure a familiar carer could too!!

    I do send my best wishes for you and your mum and hope things go smoothly for you xxx

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