Care home negligence

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Angela T, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Hello,

    Does anyone have any experience of CH negligence ?

    I found what I thought was a lovely CH for my mother, she went in willingly in January but once there, she regularly wanted to leave. I was told that that is common, in the first few weeks and that she would settle.

    After a week she escaped through the front door (watched someone doing the code on the keypad and copied them). They found her quickly and brought her back, and the staff were meant to be keeping an eye on her. A week later, she was left alone in the lounge at change-over time (7.30am) for long enough to escape through an unlocked French window onto a 1st floor balcony. She tried to climb over the railing and fell - breaking bones in her pelvis and back.

    After back surgery and 3 weeks in hospital, she is now in a different nursing home - but I am wondering whether we should take this to court...? My mother is 89, the Alzheimer's has deteriorated since the accident, and doctors say her mobility and well-being will be affected, and maybe her life expectancy.

    Any advice/opinions are welcome...

    Thank you,

    Angela
     
  2. Adcat

    Adcat Registered User

    Jun 15, 2014
    289
    London
    Hi, what a nightmare.
    My dad was an escape artist but he's living at home with me and I lock us in at night. He is never left on his own because of his tendency to wander. I would have thought there is a duty of care issue going on here somewhere. I don't know what direction to point you in though.
    Take care.
     
  3. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Yes Adcat, I realise it is easy to escape from a CH if you are determined to do so. My mother was determined, and the key in the lock made it possible. I felt bad, because I put her in the CH to protect her (from gas, wandering, a fall) and she ended up having a far worse fall than she would have had in her own home (she lived on the ground floor!).
     
  4. Adcat

    Adcat Registered User

    Jun 15, 2014
    289
    London
    They must have put in place a risk assessment for your mother and they have a duty of care. I would think it's worth pursuing.
     
  5. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,776
    Salford
    There are people out there who'll do a no win no fee deal, you could ask them but please sign nothing until you're very sure what you're signing up to.
    Certainly the balcony incident is a clearly something that should never happen.
    I would certainly report the breach to RIDDOR, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, it's HSE and part of their brief is things that occur in social care.
    If it ever got to court they may claim that; you under described her needs or that what happened was self inflicted or any number of other reasons, the main argument would be between lawyers charging hundreds an hour and once they'd made their money something would get agreed and the insurance would pay out.
    Solely on the basis the place needs to learn a lesson then sue, to be fair she got away lucky with a broken pelvis, it could have been a lot worse.
    I'm not mad keen on the "where there's blame there's a claim" but here it might be beneficial to remind the home that they're getting paid to do a professional job and they're taking your money to provide it.
    K
     
  6. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    3,223
    Female
    The Sweet North
    I would think that the access to a potentially dangerous balcony by any dementia patient must count as being negligent.

    I hope your mum is on the mend, I can't imagine how distressing the whole incident must have been for you.
     
  7. Angela T

    Angela T Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    187
    France
    Thank you Kevin1, yes there is an HSE investigation underway - I will contact them to see what the situation is.

    No the balcony incident should never have happened, but I am not going to rush into a court case - I don't want to "teach the CH a lesson" - I think the incident is a lesson in itself. The deputy manager agreed that the key should not have been in the lock, but the the HSE investigation would not necessarily find there was negligence, because of my mother's intent to escape !

    What I think is unfair is that my mother's mobility is now much reduced, and the NH fees are much higher (50%) than the original CH, because her needs are much greater.

    I will maybe contact a solicitor (no win - no fee) but I won't rush into anything. I have enough to deal with as it is, no point in adding further stress.

    Thanks,
    Angela
     

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