Has anyone else heard of an experience so appalling?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Les, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    hello - I wanted to write and ask everyone if what we experienced in a care home has ever been experienced by anyone anywhere else.

    My father has Alzheimer's and has been cared for by my Mum for 10 years. the past few months have been very very hard as he has deteriorated very quickly and so finally my poor mum had to accept (after he had a very bad fall) that he needed to go into a care home. We looked around and he went into a home close to where Mum lives, as the people there had told us so many positive things about how they would care for dad.

    He went into the home on the 7th November - initially for 2 weeks respite which would hopefully turn permanent. My mum then came straight down to me in the south of England for a break. And on the 16th November I went back up with her to Scotland to visit him for the first time. This is what we found, after he had been in the home 10 days:

    -He had been restrained in a chair with straps, 24 hours a day.
    -They said we had given permission for restraint - we hadn't - in fact we hadn't even been asked.
    -He wasn't allowed to go to bed - ever
    -He had meals restrained in his wheelchair - so it really was 24 hours a day.
    -He had weeping and bleeding pressure sores on his bottom. He had never had skin problems prior to this.
    -He had been kept permanently in incontinence pants, and never taken to the toilet. He had never been incontinent prior to this.
    -As a result he hadn't had a proper bowel movement in a long time and was really sore
    -Every time we took him to the toilet on successive days we found that his incontinence pants were absolutely full of urine and soiled. In addition he had obviously not been cleaned properly when last changed and it really hurt him to clean him.
    -He hadn't had a bath in 10 days, only 2 brief showers
    -His hands were filthy
    -His nose was bleeding
    -He hadn't had his teeth cleaned in 10 days - we know this because the seal on his toothpaste had never been removed.
    -He had been put on a new medication - Zopiclone, without the consent of his family, his specialist or his GP, and without his medical records being present. This drug had made him really wobbly and zombie-ish.
    -one day we found him obviously not having swallowed one of his breakfast capsules. This drug turns everything a dark greeny-blue, so the entire lower half of his face was dark blue, the inside of his mouth, his hands, and it was 11 o'clock and there were 2 carers in the living room and they had done nothing
    -When we changed him there were no clean pants in his room to change him into, and no spare incontinence pants. in fact we found him one day with no pants on under his trousers, just the pad.

    I can't even begin to explain how upset we were. My father was being kept like a wild animal. He was dehydrated and upset. He's lost weight and has bleeding sores on his body. He was filthy. He was never incontinent before, but they might now have turned him that way. We didn't see anyone (except one nurse) smile at him, let alone speak to him.

    Obviously he is being moved to another care home right now, but this is about as bad as I could ever imagine. We'd been trying to get mum to use respite for months, and then when we did for the first time, this is what happened. I feel like my heart has broken - and will never fix.

  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Words fail me Lesley.

    I can only suggest you put in a formal complaint to the home, Social Services, CSCI and your MP.

    I`m so sorry your father had to suffer such an ordeal.

    We televise programmes about the disgraceful treatment of some of Bulgaria`s children, but know little of what is happening on our own doorstep.
  3. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Gobsmacked would adequately describe me at the moment.

    Complain to everyone you can think of. If you can bring yourself to do it, take pictures of the sores (I can see that this might be a sensitive issue, but when it comes down to it a picture is always more powerful than words).

    I find it particularly hard, in this day and age, that ANYONE could give permission for another person to be restrained in this manner. I mean I know you didn't, but even if you had, I wouldn't have thought this was legal.
  4. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    We have put in a formal complaint to the home, and also to the care commission in scotland. Is there anywhere else we should be reporting this? I have written out everything in full. We're sending a copy to our care manager, to our GP, to Dad's specialist as well as the care commission. My brother wants to report it to the police. We took photos of Dad's skin. I also recorded (secretly on my mobile) a 45 minute conversation we had with one of the senior staff members when we made the complaints, in case he decided to backtrack at a later date.

    Some of the things they said:
    When we asked if they were encouraging incontinence by never taking dad to the toilet, we had the reply: "Yes we are".

    When I asked to see night-time care logs regarding why Dad wasn't allowed in his bed - we were told that they had ordered the blank logs in mid september, and they hadn't arrived yet so they couldn't keep logs. So residents records aren't being kept up to date. What's wrong with blank paper????

    by the way, how common is restraint in care homes? does anyone know? the care home he is being moved to doesn't believe in restraint...
  5. sammyb

    sammyb Registered User

    Sep 19, 2007
    Oh Les, I have been at the point of being physically sick as I have read your post. Your experience must be everybody's absolute nightmare. Complete torture. I am pleased you are taking him out of there immediately. Perhaps if you were to print your posting and send it to.............the GP, the managers of the home, local newspaper, even national newspaper. I am appalled!!!

    Love from Sammyb
  6. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    Thank you all. I was devastated thinking about even putting dad in a GOOD care home. And then this happened. I just want him to be safe, and to have some dignity. He's still capable of knowing what's going on, and it breaks my heart. He told me he was "SO glad to see me". And I wept. I can't believe we left him there for 10 days. They promised so much. There were smiling faces when we first visited the home, and it was all a lie. They lied about so many things.

    Yes, good ideas - MP and newspaper. But I have to be sure Mum is ok about it. I don't want to make it even harder for her. She's hurting so much.
  7. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    I think there is only one word as Jenniferpa said"Gobsmacked"
    Complain everywhere.
    Age concern,Counsel and Care.
    Do contact your Scotish MP.
    I really cannot add more.it has made me very angry
  8. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005

    Can't really add anything to what the others have said, except to say I'm appalled at the way your dad has been treated. I hope you get some results soon; the home should be closed down.

  9. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Dear Les,

    Your post is a complete horror story. I've never heard anything so awful. Yes, send copies of your post to everyone you can think of. I would also include Alzheimer Scotland.

    Your poor dad -- and your poor mum, she must be devastated. It's hard enough, seeing our loved ones in a care home, without witnessing that upset.

    I hope no-one thinks that kind of 'care' is general in Scotland, it isn't. Les, can you tell me your parents' area, by PM if you like? I've got lots of contacts in D&G, so if you're anywhere near I may be able to help.

  10. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    Thanks Hazel, it's the Grampian area - so quite far away from you, sadly...

    Alzheimers scotland is a good idea. I have spoken to Mum a few times today, and her greatest fear is their identity getting to any newspapers. Story fine, identity definitely not fine. She wants to protect Dad at any cost, understandably.

  11. christine_batch

    christine_batch Registered User

    Jul 31, 2007
    It beggars belief!!!!

    Dear Les,
    Reading your messages has made me feel sick. I agree with other threads for complaint. What about to the people who check Care Homes and report on them. Sorry I cannot think of their name at present, I like everyone else am appauled.
    I wish you and your parents all the best.
    Best wishes. Christine
  12. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Dear Les, well I've just read your posts and sobbed ......

    I admit my first instinct was this is a matter for national media attention - and whilst one would hope a 'responsible' and 'sensitive' media resource (not naming names but I'm not talking the red banner type sensationalism media here) would be able to give you some 'power' to your complaints whilst maintaining anonymity and deliver a stern warning to any other '*******s' (sorry) who think they can get away with treating any form of life this way ........ the Police, yes, I tend to agree with your brother - this is a total violation of Human Rights, surely???????

    That said, right now - I am concerned at how much you and your mum are hurting ...... however - and to whoever - you decide to move your complaints forward - please take some time to remind yourselves this is not your fault - you have acted in good faith in the best interests of your dad - that it has turned out so horribly wrong is not another burden you should bear ......

    I wish I could think of something better to say to help - please keep posting and let us know how you are all getting on ....... and of course, I hope dad is soon settled in a place which shows him the respect and dignity he deserves - and gives you all as a family some peace of mind....

    Love, Karen, x
  13. Les

    Les Registered User

    Jun 23, 2004
    Thank you - I'm completely numb actually. I know I am blaming myself, and in my more logical moment I know I shouldn't, but I'll work on that later.

    Dad moves to his new care home tomorrow. Mum's with him now in the hellhole and she's going backwards and forwards with his stuff. She told him that he was moving tomorrow and he said 'thank goodness'. This made me weep again, I'd much rather he didn't know what torture he has been enduring. Now that he has been taken off the Zopiclone drug the care home forced him to take, I think he is more himself and is more aware. I just pray that when he is settled somewhere nice he will forget about the suffering he has endured.

    PLEASE let the next place be nice - we visited it a month ago and it the people seemed very competent and were so kind. But then at the place which has been so awful they acted nice in the first instance and so I just don't know what to think anymore. Anyway the place he goes to tomorrow has a good reputation locally and I checked out the care commission inspection reports which seemed all in order. But I'm very scared. I hate being so far away, but I have been there twice in one month and I have a job down here, and getting to scotland is so expensive. I just hate being so useless. And I want to protect my Dad.
  14. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    Dear Lesley,

    I too am apalled and can't offer any answers as am unaware of restraints being used in 'care' (if it wasn't so dreadful it would be laughable) homes.

    I think the thing that shocked me the most was that the home seemed to have made no secret of the fact that your father had been treated in this manner and failed to recognise that what they were doing was unacceptable.

    I understand your mum's point of view completely that she wants to keep her and your dad's anonymity. Most of us are unused to dealing with the press; the main aim of most tabloids is to sell newspapers and the truth can get lost.

    I seem to remember there was a minister sat on the GMTV sofa a few weeks ago promising action on elder abuse.

    This web site may be of help.


    It does deal with reporting to the Police and I agree with your brother that a report should be made.
  15. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Dear Les, I'm sorry, but you're right! I have absolutely no contacts in Grampian.

    But you semm to be contacting all the right people, let's hope someone takes action regarding that 'establishment'. I can understand your mum not wanting publicity, she and your dad have been through enough.

    How is your dad after all this? I hope he's not too upset by all this, and with proper care will get back to where he was before. That's always the worry after trauma like that isn't it?

    Let us know how he gets on, and if you get any response.

  16. Libby

    Libby Registered User

    May 20, 2006
    North East

    What a truly terrible experience for all of you - your poor dad. I can understand how you feel totally heatbroken.

    We put our trust in these care homes, and for it to be so abused is just unbelievable.

    I do hope you all recover from this experience (although I doubt you will ever forget) and that your Dad is looked after as he should be, in his new home.

  17. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Well that's a small snippet of good news so far - sometimes being 'numb' is the best coping mechanism ....... try to hang on to it until your dad is settled tomorrow (and try to keep some faith he will be ....and that the new carers will immediately start to address some of the 'damage' done .....) .... presumably you are at the other end of a phone for your mum - and for you to get updates?

    You are not useless .... caring comes in many forms - from whatever distance .......

    Will be thinking of you .... love, Karen, x
  18. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    No, you certainly shouldn't!

    You've worked so hard to get things sorted for your mum and dad. It's certainly not your fault that the place failed so miserably in its duty of care.

    We'll all pray for that, Les.

    You're not useless. And you're doing everything in your power to protect your dad.

    All best wishes for tomorrow.

  19. sheilarees53

    sheilarees53 Registered User

    Apr 11, 2006
    Beckenham Kent
    Dear Les,

    Your post made me cry. I am so sorry your poor dad has been treated so badly. We all hope and pray that we are doing the best we can for our loved ones.

    I agree with everyone else, please let all and sundry know what has happened. The home should be shut down and the management brought to justice for what they have condoned.

    I hope the move for your dad isn't too traumatic and my love and best wishes to you and your mum.

    Love Sheila x
  20. Vall

    Vall Registered User

    Jun 9, 2006
    I was horrified to read your post and so upset to imagine what your dad went through.
    My family have been trying to get me to use respite care for my husband, but I am so afraid he will come out with more problems than when he went in. So I carry on, telling myself that I am the only one who can look after him, imagining that no-one else will clean his teeth and shower him every day. I know that your experience is not universal but on the other hand I can't bring myself to take the chance. Things are bad enough without him being set back.
    You acted with good intentions and were badly let down. I hope your dad can forget his bad time and respond well in his new environment.

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