26 January 2011
Neglect in Care Homes: When Will it Stop
The appalling story of a care home resident kept in conditions 'like a dog kennel' is an extreme version of stories which sadly I hear only too often. Many of these are stories of neglect but in the worse cases they involve abuse. 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 homes, the Care Quality Commission.There are a whole series of concerns about incidents in care homes over which people seek my advice. A common one is neglect leading to pressure sores – a condition which is almost always preventable.
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 the 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.
I hope we do not see too many stories as bad as the woman left in conditions ‘like a dog kennel’. However I see nothing to suggest that there will be any drop in the number of cases of neglect my colleagues and I are asked to investigate.
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.