The family of an elderly woman who made national headlines when neglectful and abusive treatment of her in a residential home was exposed today said they hoped her ‘legacy’ would ensure others are now afforded better care.
Dementia sufferer Freda Jobson, 87, died over the Easter weekend with her family and loved ones around her, just over three years since they removed her from the East Yorkshire residential home where she was ‘neglected in worst possible way.’
Suspecting foul play, family members bought a spy camera which was disguised as a clock and caught her carers in the act of taunting and mimicking her.
She was also found to have pressure sores which had been left to become so bad they measured 6cm x 3cm and had a depth down to the bone. They had extensive underlying tissue damage and were classed by an independent medical expert as being the worst level ‘Grade 4’ sores.
She also had sores to her toe and elbow, whilst her heel was so bad it was considered ‘ungradeable’, with 85 per cent dead tissue.
This was despite it being identified that she was at high risk of developing sores as long as 15 months before she left the home, and it being accepted medically that around 95 per cent can be avoided with appropriate care and regular turning.
Mrs Jobson’s turned to the elder abuse specialists at Hudgell Solicitors to launch legal action and removed her from the residential home.
She was transferred to a community hospital, where they say she has received ‘amazing treatment’ for the past three years and until her death this week.
Legal cases continue against care home and district nursing teams
Solicitor Lauren Dale, of Hudgell Solicitors, continues to pursue legal action in relation to the care provided to Mrs Jobson at Keldgate Manor Residential Care Home in Beverley, where she was a resident from July 2012 until March 2015.
Ms Dale says the pressure sores were ‘some of the worst seen’ by the medical negligence specialist team at the firm, which represents clients who suffer poor medical care across England and Wales.
She confirmed that Humber NHS Foundation Trust, which was responsible for the district nurses treating Mrs Jobson at the home, have admitted liability for the poor management of the sores she developed.
This includes their failure to carry out a suitable risk assessment with regards to Mrs Jobson’s susceptibility to developing sores, their failure to collect sufficient information as to their ongoing development and failure to recommend for a Tissue Viability Nurse to assess her. It has also admitted there was a failure to provide an acceptable level of dietary care and advice to care staff.
The residential home itself continues to deny any responsibility for the pressure sores developing, claiming its role was to provide only residential and not nursing care.
It has however admitted through its legal representatives that Mrs Jobson was exposed to verbal abuse from its members of staff, for which damages are entitled.
Mrs Jobson’s daughter Maddy, said: “My mum was neglected in the worst possible way at Keldgate Manor, both in terms of the staff there taunting her and in the way they let her sores become so bad. I can remember her case being covered on the national news and on ITV This Morning and the presenters were absolutely horrified.
“Everybody who saw the footage of the carers taunting her, and pictures of her sores were disgusted.
“It was disgusting and although I knew my mother would have hated the idea of being on the television and in the news I felt people needed to know what had happened and that such poor care needed to be highlighted and challenged.
“I still find it appalling that the residential home is still trying to wash its hands of any responsibility, but I was happy that the Trust in charge of the district nurses has admitted its failings.
“They have informed us that changes have been made with regards to how their nurses reporting any development of sores, which means it is flagged up to social services much quicker now, and will hopefully prevent other similar cases.
“That is what I wanted. I wanted change. I didn’t want anybody else’s loved ones to be suffering from abuse or neglect. I am certain care will have improved as a result of mum’s treatment being highlighted in the media and I know it has been used in training too.”
Beverley Community Hospital praised for giving family ‘three more precious years’
Mrs Jobson’s family are full of praise for the care provided by East Riding Community Hospital, where she has been for the past three years.
“We cannot thank the staff there enough, they have been fantastic and gave us three more precious years together,” she said.
“When my mum first went in there she was in agony with her sores and they were horrendous, but with the right dedicated care, repeated turning and the right food, they healed and she was comfortable.
“Mum hadn’t been able to speak for some years, but she was able to communicate to us through her eyes and expressions and she was much happier and comfortable. We enjoyed birthdays, Mother’s Days and Christmases together. She wasn’t fearful anymore and she trusted the people around her.
“Most importantly, the staff there knew everything there was to know about my mum. They knew when she was comfortable and when she was happy and when she wasn’t. They cared for her, its simple.
“The end of life care was also superb. We knew she was coming to the end of her life and were able to call my sister Christine to come over from Australia. We didn’t think she’d make it in time but mum hung on, just like the fighter she has always been. We all sat with her, singing to her and holding her hand. After all she has been through it was a lovely way to say goodbye.
“She knew we’d been there for her all the way.”
Case led to Hudgell Solicitors’ ‘Love’ campaign for better elderly care
The three women carers from the home were caught laughing among themselves as they asked Mrs Jobson if she was a witch who ‘performed black magic’ before a bandage was removed from a sore on her elbow and wrapped around her head.
They admitted a charge of ill-treating or willfully neglecting a person without capacity, contrary to section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and were all sacked by the company soon after the abuse footage surfaced.
Their actions were described in court as ‘disgraceful’ ‘cruelty’ and ‘bullying’ and they were each handed 12 month community orders.
A great-grandmother of six, Mrs Jobson’s case was part of Hudgell Solicitors’ Love Our Vulnerable and Elderly (LOVE) campaign, which initially called for CCTV to be compulsory in all care and residential homes and today continues to call for all elderly to be loved, respected, protected and treated with dignity in care.
Ms Dale added: “We continue as a firm to campaign for the elderly to be protected and respected when in care, and to be treated with love and dignity, as anything less simply isn’t care.
“All at Hudgell Solicitors are so very sad to hear of Freda’s passing. We very much agree with her family that Freda has certainly left a legacy. Her case was covered in the national media and on national television and we had many people come forward to us as a result, particularly with regards to pressure sores, as they were more aware that it was an indication of possible neglect.
“Maddy and the rest of her family deserve great credit for taking action as they did, challenging the poor and neglectful care and highlighting the very serious issues which are sadly all too common in residential and care homes.
“We certainly welcome the admissions of breach of duty by Humber NHS Foundation Trust with regards to the poor care provided by district nurses and continue to pursue damages from Keldgate Manor itself.”