18 January 2011
Care Homes: Another Tragic Story of Neglect
I read a moving account last week of how an elderly lady was neglected in a care home. Sadly it echoes stories I hear daily.
He describes her complaints of pain being ignored and for months being made to walk to breakfast until at a late stage she was diagnosed with stress fractures, which were obviously the source of her pain. With a growing number of people living longer we need to put more effort into making sure elderly people get good care. Sadly the opposite is happening with cuts to the body that oversees care home, the Care Quality Commission.
One of my great concerns is that elderly people with fragile skin can develop pressure sores if they are not properly cared for. Pressure sores are almost always preventable. Yet when they are allowed to develop they can cause enormous pain and disability.
In one of my cases recently an elderly man had to undergo an above-knee amputation of one leg because of pressure ulcers. Had he lived longer sores would have led to him having his other leg amputated.
Other problems include falls and fractures where people are roughly handled and medication errors. In one case a lady who normally lived with her family fell breaking her hip in temporary respite care. She ended up so disabled that she lost her independence and had to move into a care home permanently. For her this was a real tragedy, spending her last months missing her family and dependent on care.
As far as I can see there are no signs of any of this changing at present and sadly we are all likely to be reading more stories like these.
Paul Sankey is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.