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70,000 Vulnerable People at Risk as 2,000 Care Homes Reported as Substandard

Elderly man in care home | Elderly people at risk from care home abuse and neglect


Four in ten care homes are failing inspections, a new report has revealed, with over 2,000 residential and nursing homes across the country deemed inadequate or in need of improvement.

The investigation, which was carried out by the Daily Mail, collated recent inspection data for 5,361 care homes in England, and found that over 2,000 were failing in areas like safety and hygiene. This means that around 70,000 vulnerable elderly people are currently at risk from substandard care and poor safety and hygiene standards, with residents facing filthy accommodation, inadequate healthcare provision, and unacceptably long waits for food, drink and toilet breaks.

Theresa May Calls for ‘Overhaul’ of Social Care Services

So damning is the Mail’s report that Prime Minister Theresa May has intervened, labelling the care failings ‘unacceptable’ and calling for a complete overhaul of the social care system. A spokesperson for the PM has since said that extra funding will be provided to improve care home standards, though it’s not yet clear how much the government plans to inject into the struggling sector.

Mrs May said: “We are providing extra funding into social care and we want to make sure that people are able to live in good standard homes. Any reports of abuse in care homes or conditions which are not acceptable are worrying. That is why we have put in place a robust inspection regime.”

The report comes in the wake of a string of similar investigations into the state of social housing for elderly people, including the CQC’s comprehensive care home report, which revealed that one in three care homes in England is failing on safety.

But while the CQC based its findings on care home investigations dating back to 2014, the Mail’s report lists current care home ratings — arguably making the figures more troubling. English care homes are given one of four ratings by the CQC: outstanding, good, requires improvement, or inadequate. So far this year, 2,000 of the 5,361 investigated by the Mail have received the worst two ratings, with only 86 receiving the highest rating of outstanding.

Commenting on the Mail’s findings, Andrew Percy of the health select committee said: “We are a number of years on from when some of the appalling abuses in care homes were first highlighted. The country has not got to grips with how we care for our increasingly ageing population — which is deeply concerning.”

Mr Percy’s concerns echo those of Imelda Richmond, national director of Healthwatch England, who identified a “worrying culture of apathy” across the social care sector. Ms Richmond’s comments came after an independent Healthwatch investigation revealed that neglect is leaving elderly people facing filthy conditions in some UK care homes — further bolstering the need for tighter regulation and increased investment in social care.

The UK Care Crisis in Numbers

Following a wave of recent reports into the state of UK care homes, stories of abuse and neglect of the elderly are now hitting the headlines on a disturbingly regular basis. But with so many reports offering different statistics and figures, it can be difficult to appreciate the scale of the problems facing the UK’s social care sector.

With this in mind, here we list the top line figures which best illustrate the UK care home crisis:

  • 5% of 14,900 care homes failed safety inspections between 2014-17 (CQC)
  • 38% of 5,361 care homes inspected this year declared inadequate or in need of improvement (Daily Mail investigation)
  • 1,605 civil enforcement actions have been brought by the CQC in the past two years, but only five have led to successful prosecutions of failing adult care services (CQC)
  • 5,600 reports of elderly abuse were logged by GPs in 2015/16, an increase of 33% over a two-year period
  • 9 in 10 care workers have witnessed abuse or neglect in care homes, with one in four witnessing physical violence towards an elderly resident (Nursing Times)

Government Promises Extra Funding— But Will it Deliver?

With the Prime Minister promising additional funding for cash-strapped care homes, could this announcement mark the beginning of the end for the UK’s care home crisis? Or is the government’s funding pledge too little too late for essential care services pushed to the breadline by years of harmful austerity?

While a much-needed cash injection would certainly help struggling nursing and residential homes cover the cost of vital extra resources, it may not go far enough in solving the “culture of apathy” issue recognised by Imelda Richmond. Getting the basics right on social care shouldn’t cost the earth, and a lack of funding is no excuse for the abhorrent reports of elderly abuse and neglect which have surfaced over the past couple of years.

What is needed, beyond simple monetary relief, is an assessment of how care homes safeguard the basic rights and health of vulnerable elderly residents, to put an end to the unacceptable cases of abuse and neglect which have been allowed to continue for far too long in care homes up and down the country.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we have long campaigned for greater safeguarding measures for vulnerable elderly people, including the introduction of mandatory CCTV systems in all UK care homes. Though controversial, we believe such measures are necessary in ending the scourge of neglect and abuse cases which continue to blight our social care system.

If you or a loved one has been affected by care home abuse or neglect, our experienced solicitors can offer free, no obligation advice on making a no win no fee compensation claim. To find out more, visit our care home abuse page or contact our team today.

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15/08/2017 No Comments

Report Finds Care Home Neglect Leaving Elderly in ‘Filthy’ Accommodation

Sad elderly lady | Care Home Neglect Leaving Elderly in Filthy Accommodation


Vulnerable elderly people are facing “filthy” accommodation in care homes, a new investigation reveals, with residents left in squalid conditions, dressed in other people’s clothing and living without exercise for weeks at a time.

The investigation, which was carried out by health and social care advice service Healthwatch, saw 197 surprise inspections at nursing and residential homes across England, with substandard care noted in several cases.

As part of the investigation, Healthwatch investigators reviewed patient access to additional health services, including GPs and dentists. Worryingly, it found that only one facility was able to provide elderly residents with regular access to vital healthcare services — leaving vulnerable elderly residents at risk from ill-health and worsening medical conditions.

Describing the findings as a serious “wakeup call” for the social care sector and its regulators, Healthwatch said there remains a “worrying culture of apathy” within the care sector, with care providers, regulators and healthcare professionals not doing enough to maintain a reasonable standard of quality care.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Imelda Redmond, national director of Healthwatch England, commented that regulators understand that care homes are struggling with cuts to social care services, but added: “Getting the basics right doesn’t have to cost the earth and should be the least we should all be able to expect for our loved ones and ourselves should we need care support.”

The Healthwatch report revealed a series of shocking findings within poorly performing care homes, including cases where residents were forced to wait an hour to go to the toilet, and were left in bed for weeks at a time with the bare minimum of physical activity. The report also logged several hygiene and cleanliness issues, including peeling wallpaper, dirty rooms, rotting plants left on patient’s windowsills, and laundry not being returned to the right person, and later worn by someone else.

Concerns were also raised around specialist nursing homes intended to accommodate dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, with inspectors commenting on a serious lack of awareness of the condition, and the needs of vulnerable people suffering from it.

Jeremy Hughes of the Alzheimer’s Society told the Telegraph that he is “not at all surprised by the findings”, adding: “They testify to the existing issues with staff training across the sector, and echo what our investigation last year found — that one-in-three home-care workers had received absolutely no dementia training, resulting in people with dementia left in soiled sheets, and becoming ill after eating out-of-date food.”

New Report Confirms Substandard Social Care Epidemic

Sad elderly man | Care Home Neglect Claims

While the Healthwatch investigation did encounter examples of good care at nursing and residential homes in England, the scope of negligent care that remains prevalent in care homes across the country is impossible to overlook — particularly when you consider the other damning reports to have emerged over the past few months.

At the start of July, the CQC published a report which threw into sharp relief the poor state of social care services in England. It found that one-in-three care homes are failing on safety, with falls, drug errors and a lack of resources leaving vulnerable elderly people at risk from negligence and abuse in residential and nursing homes up and down the country.

And less than a week before the CQC report, at the end of June, a survey of 800 GPs revealed that cases of abuse and neglect of the elderly have risen by a third, with health workers voicing concerns that the social care system is “disintegrating”. GPs logged over 5,600 abuse referrals in 2015/16, an increase of a third compared to the previous period — figures described as “truly frightening” by elderly awareness charity, Age UK.

Between reports from Healthwatch and the CQC, and the figures published by the independent poll of GPs, it’s clear that England’s social care system is now at breaking point. Three separate investigations have now confirmed the deep-rooted problems within residential and nursing homes, with vulnerable elderly people facing the burden of substandard care, rising abuse and neglect, and a worrying lack of resources across the social care sector.

Experts from Healthwatch England described their report as a “wakeup call”, but sadly, reports of neglect and abuse of the elderly are no longer surprising. Until greater onus is placed on improving and investing in social care services, cases of elderly abuse and neglect will continue to make headlines — and it’s not yet clear what the government proposes to do to prevent them.

At Hudgell Solicitors, we campaign for the improved safeguarding of vulnerable elderly people, and act on behalf of those affected by negligent treatment and abuse in care homes. To find out more, visit our care home abuse page or contact our team today.

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11/08/2017 No Comments

Care Nurse Convicted of Spraying Aerosol in Dementia Patient’s Face

Elderly woman | Care home abuse nurse convicted


A care home nurse has been convicted after appalling footage emerged showing her spraying aerosol in a dementia patient’s face.

The video, which was recorded on a hidden camera by the patient’s family, shows Susan Draper spraying body spray in 78-year-old Betty Boylan’s face, before telling a colleague: “It’s better than poo.”

Draper, 43, was convicted of ill-treatment of an elderly woman at Birmingham Magistrates Court, where the jury heard how she had “dehumanised” Ms Boylan, a great grandmother. The care worker was handed a 12-month community order and a £270 fine, and has since been struck off from the Bupa-run Perry Locks Care Home, where she had worked for 17 years.

Ms Boylan’s family installed the hidden camera after their mother, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2012, was abused in a similar incident by Bina Begum, who was also dismissed from Perry Locks for ill-treatment. Begum reportedly lifted Ms Boylan by the head to dress her, before roughly dropping her back into a chair — causing bruising and trauma to the vulnerable elderly woman.

The fact that two separate instances of abuse have been allowed to take place at the Perry Locks Care Home, which is ranked as ‘requires improvement’ by the CQC, is wholly unacceptable. It’s troubling that the abuse suffered by Ms Boylan may have gone undetected had her family not used a secret camera, and raises questions about the safeguarding of other patients within the Birmingham care home — and within other care homes.

Should CCTV be Made Mandatory in Care Homes?

News of the abuse suffered by Ms Boylan comes amid reports that one-third of care homes in England is failing on safety, with drug errors and lack of staff leaving vulnerable elderly people at risk. Cuts to social care spending have left many services lacking the necessary resources to manage and maintain a high duty of care, meaning that more care and residential homes are falling below the standard expected.

Spending cuts aside, there remains no excuse or justification for neglect and abuse of elderly people. Through our work dealing with care home abuse claims, we encounter shocking cases of mistreatment which go beyond the poor care seen in homes struggling with spending cuts. But what can be done to prevent the kind of abuse suffered by Ms Boylan?

In 2016, we campaigned for CCTV to become mandatory in care homes. Round-the-clock monitoring would, in our view, prevent abuse like that seen in Perry Locks, and provide better safeguarding for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

While our petition didn’t lead to new legislation on monitoring, it did prompt an important debate around the use of CCTV in care homes. We still believe that CCTV could make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable people living in social care, and stories like Ms Boylan’s highlight just what a difference appropriate monitoring can make.

For more information on our work supporting vulnerable elderly people, visit our care home abuse page.

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12/07/2017 No Comments

Elderly Abuse Soars As GPs Warn Care System ‘Disintegrating’

Elderly man sitting on bench | Elderly abuse soars | Hudgell Solicitors


Cases of elderly abuse and neglect have risen by a third, with GPs warning that the UK care system is “rapidly disintegrating”.

Latest figures show that GPs made over 5,600 referrals to social services in 2015/16, an increase of 33% over a two-year period.

Worryingly, 60% of GPs who referred patients to social care services said they were unable to secure the appropriate care for those affected, and that the response from social services was wholly inadequate. It’s now believed that thousands of pensioners in care homes or their own home are suffering abuse and neglect, despite concerns from their GP.

Welfare charities involved in safeguarding the elderly have reacted angrily to the report, with Age UK labelling the findings “truly frightening”. The figures came as part of a Freedom of Information request by Pulse magazine, which is carrying out an investigation into the UK’s social care failings.

A survey of 800 GPs found that a third were unable to contact social services to make an abuse referral, whilst 42% said there was an unacceptable delay before any action was taken. Speaking to the Telegraph, Dr Ayesha Sharieff, a GP in South London, said her team often find it impossible to contact social services regarding abuse cases, and that, even after reaching the service, many social workers were found to be on stress-related leave.

Under safeguarding rules intended to protect vulnerable persons from abuse and neglect, GPs are expected to raise concerns with the relevant social care services. However, with the social care sector facing seismic spending cuts, doctors are finding it increasingly difficult to secure the appropriate support and care for elderly patients they suspect are suffering abuse.

Despite the government injecting £1 billion into the cash-strapped social care system last year, council chiefs this week confirmed that social care cuts will continue throughout 2017. Local authorities in England are facing pressure to make £824m in healthcare savings, and social care services are expected to take the brunt of the spending cuts.

9 in 10 Care Workers Have Witnessed Care Home Abuse

elderly person in care | Elderly abuse soars

While news of the increase in abuse referrals is shocking, it’s sadly not all that surprising. Last year, a Nursing Times study revealed that nine in ten care workers have witnessed abuse and neglect in care homes, with one in four witnessing physical violence towards vulnerable elderly people. These figures are abhorrent, and highlight the deep-seated issues facing Britain’s social care system.

Over the past twelve months, cases of care home neglect and abuse have hit the headlines on several occasions, highlighting the need for an intervention into how social care services are managed and funded. And yet, despite the growing severity of the situation, news of rising abuse towards elderly people throws into sharp relief the government’s lack of action in working to address issues within the social care sector.

Through our work at Hudgell Solicitors, we deal with many cases of abuse towards elderly people, both in care homes and through home care. Just last month, we helped a family claim compensation on behalf of a 92-year old woman with dementia, who suffered a broken arm and hip after wandering from her care home without staff noticing. In light of the negligence of care workers, and the inadequate response from the management, the family received a five-figure settlement, with insurers accepting liability.

This is just one of the many cases of care home abuse and neglect we deal with on a near-daily basis. And while we recognise the financial strain social care services are under, we believe more must be done to safeguard vulnerable elderly people and prevent such traumatic cases of abuse and neglect.

The Love Our Vulnerable and Elderly (LOVE) Campaign Continues

Love Our Vulnerable Elderly | Care Home Abuse | Hudgell Solicitors

Since February 2016, we’ve campaigned for CCTV systems to become compulsory in UK care homes in a bid to prevent cases of abuse and neglect towards the elderly. And our campaign continues.

In light of the soaring number of elderly abuse cases, we think it’s now more important than ever that people show their support for Love Our Vulnerable Elderly — a campaign to promote care, respect and dignity for elderly people.

In 2016, we launched a petition calling on parliament to make CCTV mandatory in all care and residential homes. The poll collected over 12,000 signatures and received recognition from The Department of Health, which said that it “does not object to the use of CCTV cameras” on a case by case basis”.

While our petition helped to raise awareness of the crucial role CCTV cameras can play in safeguarding vulnerable people, it’s clear that more work is needed to guarantee safety and comfort in care homes. We pledge to continue campaigning until all elderly people are given the respect and dignity they deserve.

To find out more about our work in helping vulnerable elderly people, visit our care home abuse page or call our team now.

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30/06/2017 No Comments

Resident with dementia, 92, wandered from care home unnoticed by staff and suffered fractures in fall

care home - loved one


A 92-year-old care home resident with dementia suffered a broken arm and hip after wandering out of the premises and onto a busy road without staff realising.

Staff at The Croft Residential Home, in Normanton, Wakefield, only became aware that Beatrice Hudson was missing when they received a call from a member of the public saying they had found a lady fallen, felt she may be from their home, and that they had called an ambulance.

Ms Hudson had to have plates put in her arm and undergo a half hip replacement, never regaining mobility after surgery. It meant she was fully dependent on her carers moving her in a wheelchair when she left hospital and transferred to a new care home.

Her niece, Jenny Taylor, 58, says she can never forgive the home as the injuries meant her aunty had an ‘undignified’ end to her life as she was almost completely bedbound.

She said: “My aunty wasn’t far from my home when someone saw her in the street and called the home, and it takes me a good 10 minutes to walk it. Therefore I’d say she must have been out of the home almost 20 minutes without anyone realising she had gone.

“Then, when they did find out that she was wandering the streets they didn’t call me straight away. It was about an hour later after the ambulance had taken her to hospital that we found out. I was very angry with that.”

Ms Hudson had been admitted to the care home by Mrs Taylor due to her advancing dementia. She was very mobile though, and able to get around without the need for assistance prior to her fall. She had previously fallen at the home, but had never previously tried to leave.

Legal claim alleged negligent care of resident by care home

Solicitor Sarah Scully, of medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This was a very sad case in which the failure to provide the most basic standards of care led to this elderly resident suffering serious, avoidable injuries.

“On the day in question, Ms Hudson had been noted to be agitated as she’d had a broken night’s sleep. She came down for breakfast and reported to carers that she was tired and the carers agreed that she would be best to go back to bed and let her take herself back to her room”.

The legal case alleged negligence in the fact the home failed to ensure there was adequate supervision of Mrs Hudson on the day in question given her noted confused state and her known dementia.

It was also alleged that the home had been in breach of its duty of care by failing to ensure there were adequate safety measures in place to prevent residents from absconding from the home without staff being notified.

Mrs Scully added: “The fact she was able to walk out unnoticed and onto a busy main road was unforgivable. She suffered serious injuries as a result of her fall, but it could have been much worse on the day had she wandered into oncoming traffic.

“It also ultimately meant that she spent the last months of her life in pain, undergoing surgery, and unable to get around freely as she had done prior to the accident. Her quality of life diminished considerably after this incident.”

Family angered by ‘undignified end to life’ of proud lady caused by injuries

Mrs Taylor says she had considered moving her mother to a new home prior to the accident following her previous fall, but said she didn’t want her aunty through such an upheaval at the age of 92.

“She’d come to live with me after her only son died but after six months I had to look for a care home because it was becoming very difficult at home with her and my daughter who has learning difficulties,” said Mrs Taylor.

“I wish I had moved her now though. She spent her final days in bed with incontinence pants on and she would have been mortified by that as she was such a dignified lady.

“In her younger days she was a restaurant manager and she loved walking around The Malvern Hills and Washington beach in Tyne and Wear. For a woman who prior to the fall was almost as fit as me and walked around the home freely, it was very sad.”

Insurers offered damages settlement after care home neglect case by Hudgell Solicitors

The Croft Residential Care Home is run by the Croft Care Group, which also operates homes in Scunthorpe, Durham, Huddersfield and Cleckheaton.

On its website, it tells families it provides care to ‘take the fear away by providing high quality caring staff who understand your needs’.

Insurers acting on behalf of the home accepted liability and offered the five-figure damages, but Mrs Taylor says their handling of the matter was the driving motivation for taking legal action.

“They weren’t remorseful and I never once got a sorry,” added Mrs Taylor.

“They were just obstructive when I asked questions as to how my aunty was able to get out of the home, and then why it took so long to contact me once they knew she’d been found in the streets.

“If they had been more open and apologetic I wouldn’t have taken legal action, but I felt I needed to hold them to account and to make sure other people were aware.

Related news

Yorkshire Post

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01/06/2017 No Comments

We pledge to continue campaigning for better protection of the vulnerable and elderly after Government says it ‘does not object’ to use of CCTV in care homes

care home campaign


Hudgell Solicitors has welcomed recognition from the Government of the role cameras have played in exposing poor and neglectful treatment of the elderly and vulnerable in care homes.

It came in an official response from The Department of Health to a petition calling for CCTV in all UK care homes.

The Government said it ‘does not object to the use of CCTV cameras in care homes on a case by case basis.’

It added that it ‘recognises that cases of abuse and neglect have been exposed as the result of hidden cameras’, acknowledging ‘there are occasions when it may be appropriate for their use to be considered.”

Although the Government stressed ‘the use of CCTV and other forms of covert surveillance should not be routine’, Lauren Dale, of Hudgell Solicitors, believes its statement poses a question as to whether homes looking after the elderly and vulnerable should now be required to offer the option of extra surveillance to every resident.

Ms Dale said: “What we have here is an admission from the Government that abuse and neglect is happening too often in care and residential homes, but no suggestion of how that escalating problem can now be tackled and prevented going forward.

“The Government has admitted that CCTV cameras have played a vital role in catching the perpetrators of abuse and neglect, and that CCTV use is something it does not object to if families are happy for filming to take place.

“It is certainly positive to hear that the Government does not object to CCTV being used and that it feels it should be considered on a ‘case by case’ basis. The reality is though, without changing legal requirements on homes, this will never be the case.

“The only way to make a difference is to make it a legal requirement for care and residential homes to offer CCTV as an additional option in private rooms for families. We always accepted there would be concerns over privacy with blanket CCTV use, but if families are happy and want it, surely it should be provided?

“Surely it could become law for CCTV facilities to be available in a minimum number of rooms at each care home. This is what needs looking at next.”

The Government response came after Hudgell Solicitors gave its backing to the petition, set up by Rochdale resident Lisa Smith, who took her 86-year-old father Joshua out of care after four years, describing it as a ‘living nightmare’

Launching our Love Our Vulnerable and Elderly (Love) campaign, we called for the elderly and vulnerable to be loved, respected, protected and treated with dignity at all times in care.Freda case on this morning

Given we were also representing a number of families who had turned to secret filming and had caught abusive and neglectful care on camera, we also supported the call for CCTV to be compulsory in care homes, citing better protection for not only the residents themselves, but also care home operators and staff against malicious allegations.

The campaign attracted national media coverage, in particular when the family of an 84-year-old woman who was cruelly taunted and mimicked by her carers, released shocking images of the ‘horrific pressure sores’ she suffered whilst in same home, showing she was also subjected to agonising physical neglect.

Pressure sores on Freda Jobson’s lower back and heel were described as ‘some of the worst seen’ by medical negligence specialist Lauren Dale, who is currently representing the family in pursuing a civil claim over her ‘appalling’ care.

Now, the Government has stated it is not against the use of CCTV, saying it must be done ‘in consultation with and with the permission of those residents and their families.’

The Government response said: “The Government does not object to the use of CCTV cameras in care homes on a case by case basis. Care home owners should consult with and seek the consent of residents and their families on their use.

“Care providers and members of the public, including care service users and their families, are free to decide whether or not to employ CCTV or covert monitoring. However, they should be aware of requirements, including legal protections, around ensuring the privacy and dignity of those who are being filmed or observed.

“The abuse or neglect of vulnerable people is deplorable. The Government has strengthened the powers of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to prosecute providers for unacceptable care, including abuse.

“The Government recognises that cases of abuse and neglect have been exposed as the result of hidden cameras. We acknowledge that there are occasions when it may be appropriate for their use to be considered.

“Closed circuit television (CCTV) should not be regarded as a substitute for proper recruitment procedures, training, management and support of care staff, or for ensuring that numbers of staff on duty are sufficient to meet the needs of users of services.

“It is a legal requirement that care providers must ensure the safety, welfare, privacy and dignity of service users at all times. The Government considers that the widespread introduction of CCTV into care homes would raise important concerns about residents’ privacy, as well as practicality.

“The use of CCTV and other forms of covert surveillance should not be routine, but should be considered on a case by case basis. The Government does not object to the use of CCTV in individual care homes or by the families of residents, provided it is done in consultation with and with the permission of those residents and their families.”

The Government added that with care provision ‘often personal, even intimate in nature’, filming ‘would represent a major intrusion into their privacy’ adding that ‘For the great majority, whose care is good, such an intrusion could not be justified.’

Ms Dale added: “The campaign has been a success as it has placed the worrying matter of neglectful and abusive care of our elderly and vulnerable under the national spotlight and onto the desks of those at the Department of Health.

“The response we have had is not enough though, it simply accepts there is a problem but offers no solution.

“We will continue to support families to bring about better care for their loved ones, which requires stronger demands on care operators, improved protection, and greater accountability across the board.

“This campaign will not end because a petition period has closed. It has only just started. A campaign like this can only end when a truly positive difference to the care of our vulnerable and elderly has been secured.”

Care home abuse claims

If you or someone you know has suffered in any way, through no fault of their own, please get in touch and we’ll take the worry and hassle out of making a claim. All claims have a time limit, so get in touch today and we’ll guide you every step of the way.

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15/06/2016 1 Comment

Petition for CCTV in care homes highlighted the need for change and better protection for elderly and vulnerable

old woman in bed


Hudgell Solicitors says widespread support for a petition calling for CCTV to be installed in all care homes across the country has highlighted the need for greater protection of the vulnerable and elderly in care in the UK.

The petition was initially started by Rochdale resident Lisa Smith, who took the decision to take her 86-year-old father Joshua out of care shortly before Christmas, describing the family’s last four years as ‘a living nightmare’.

She was supported by our Love Our Vulnerable and Elderly (Love) campaign, in which we called for the elderly and vulnerable to be loved, respected, protected and treated with dignity in care at all times.

Given we were also representing a number of families who had turned to secret filming and had caught abusive and neglectful care on camera, we also supported the call for CCTV systems to be installed in all care homes, citing better protection for not only residents themselves, but also care home operators and staff against malicious allegations.

The campaign attracted national newspaper and television coverage, in particular when the family of an 84-year-old woman who was cruelly taunted and mimicked by her carers released shocking images of the ‘horrific pressure sores’ she suffered whilst in same home, showing she was also subjected to agonising physical neglect.

Pressure sores on Freda Jobson’s lower back and heel were described as ‘some of the worst seen’ by our medical negligence specialist Lauren Dale, who is currently representing the family in pursuing a civil claim over her care.

It resulted in 12,896 people signing the petition – which ended today – forcing the Government to make an official statement on its position regarding the use of CCTV and the protection of people in care and residential homes.

In its response, which was emailed to all who signed the petition, the Government stated that it is not against the use of CCTV, saying it must be done ‘in consultation with and with the permission of those residents and their families.’

It also pointed to Care Quality Commission (CQC) guidance for care homes and the families of residents on the issues that should be taken into account when deciding whether or not to use CCTV or other forms of covert surveillance.

Lauren Dale, a specialist in representing families in care home abuse cases at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “We are pleased that the petition and our campaign has brought unacceptable standards of care of the vulnerable and elderly across the country into the spotlight.

“It has also been very pleasing to see so many people across the country, including many who have worked within the care profession themselves, backing the call for change.

“In our work we see far too many cases of neglect and abusive care of elderly people. It is an escalating problem and one which should now be a priority to tackle.

“The Government has recognised this problem in its response to the thousands who signed the petition, so the campaign does not stop there, and we will continue to support families in calling for better care and protection of the elderly and vulnerable, and represent those families who are so badly let down in getting justice for their loved ones.”

Find out more about researching care homes and reports on them following inspections by the Care Quality Commission

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03/06/2016 No Comments

Family of Freda Jobson thank public for support after thousands back campaign for CCTV in UK care homes

Freda Jobson thanks


Images and video footage showing the appalling treatment of dementia sufferer Freda Jobson whilst in care made national television and newspaper headlines, shocking families across the country earlier this month.

Her carers at Keldgate Manor Residential Care Home in Beverley, East Yorkshire, were sentenced in court having being caught on camera mocking and taunting her as she lay in her bed, after her family set up a secret spy camera in her room.

Pictures of her hip, buttock and heel, taken by her worried family, showed she had also suffered the worst level of bed sores whilst in care – so bad that some had around 85 per cent dead tissue and were described by her family as ‘dripping in blood’ and like ‘a piece of raw meat’, and as ‘amongst the worst ever seen’ by an expert injury lawyer.

The video footage and pictures were released by Mrs Jobson’s family in a bid to raise awareness of poor care of the elderly and vulnerable in care homes, calling for people to sign a petition for CCTV in all care homes.

And today, after thousands of people supported their call and signed the petition, the family has issued a very different picture of Mrs Jobson, who 14 months after leaving the home, is now looking much healthier and happier, at the age of 85.

They have thanked people for their support and now appealing for thousands more to sign the petition for CCTV in Care Homes ahead of its closure next Thursday, June 2.

“We have been overwhelmed by the many kind well wishes of people who were appalled by what had happened to my mother in care, but we were also struck by the number of people who said they were also aware of poor care of the elderly in care across the country,” said Mrs Jobson’s daughter Maddy, 51.

“Many many people asked us how my mother is doing now and how she has recovered, and we are glad to say that she is doing very well, better than we could ever have hoped when we took her from the home.”

Mrs Jobson was moved to Beverley Community Hospital in East Yorkshire, where her pressure sores have now healed, she has a healthy appetite, and Maddy says she is clearly happy.

“Good care pays, and my mum’s treatment is the perfect example of that,” she said.

“I’ve said previously that if we’d not put that camera in the care home when we did, I am convinced she would have died within weeks. She was miserable, afraid, in pain and not eating anything.

“Now she is completely different. The staff at the community hospital have been wonderful. They sit down with her and chat to her and it is really obvious that they care. I visit mum every day and feed her at lunchtime as I enjoy it and it helps the staff, but I can leave my mum feeling really happy and confident that she is being cared for lovingly.”

Maddy says that her mother, who dropped to just four stone when in care, now enjoys three meals a day, which she always finishes.

She said: “She is eating really well and has a really good appetite now. She has porridge in a morning with syrup, a three-course meal at lunch which includes mashed meat, vegetables and gravy for her main course and a yoghurt for pudding, and then soup at tea-time followed by an Angel Delight. She eats it all.

“She’ll never really be able to gain weight, but her face has filled out again and she just looks much healthier and happier. We’re just really happy with how she has progressed, and how people have supported the campaign. We needs lots more to sign now though to make the biggest impact possible.”

Hudgell Solicitors has been calling for CCTV to be made compulsory in all care and residential homes as part of its ‘Love Our Vulnerable and Elderly’ (LOVE) campaign, aimed at ensuring the elderly and vulnerable are loved, respected, protected and cared for with dignity at all times.

Close to 12,000 people have signed the petition currently, a number which will require the Government to provide an official response and update on any relevant parliamentary processes that are ongoing. Should the petition reach 100,000, the matter of CCTV could be forced onto the agenda at Whitehall.

Solicitor Lauren Dale, a medical negligence specialists at Hudgell Solicitors who is representing the family, said: “We have seen great support for our call for CCTV systems in all care homes, but sadly, it takes cases such as this one to make people sit up and listen.

“Interestingly, we have received many comments from people who have worked within the care industry and have been passionate about providing the very best care. Many of these people have said that whilst CCTV is not something they have wanted, they can now see the need for change.

“As a firm we support many families who have been through very similar distressing times when the care of one of their loved ones has not only fallen below that expected, but crossed the line to neglect and abuse.

“At present, families have no option and when they have concerns, and an increasing number are turning to secret filming to find out what happens when they leave their loved ones in the care of others. As we have seen, many have uncovered shocking care.

“We believe having CCTV in private rooms should be an option for families, as it would give residents better protection, give families extra peace of mind when putting loved ones in carer, and would also protect the care homes and care workers themselves from any malicious claims against them.”

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24/05/2016 7 Comments

National care home operator admits being at fault for death of 72-year-old dementia sufferer

Tony and kay


A national care home operator which looks after hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people across the country has admitted being at fault for the death of a resident at one of its homes after facing legal action.

Prime Life Ltd – which runs more than 50 care and nursing homes across the country – was the subject of a major investigation around care provided at its Wyton Abbey facility near Hull, East Yorkshire, following the deaths of two residents within 10 months of one another.

Now, a legal case around the care of one of those residents has seen the firm admit being responsible for the 72-year-old’s death.

The case was handled by legal care home claims specialists Hudgell Solicitors, who are currently campaigning for improved care services across the UK and calling for CCTV to be made compulsory in all care and residential homes.

The legal case surrounded the care of dementia sufferer Tony Dearnley, who died after being placed in the home for respite by his wife, when she took a two-week holiday from the daily demands of being his carer.

During that two weeks, Mr Dearnley suffered a series of falls, leaving him with bruises on his arm, left hip, forehead, and nose.

His condition deteriorated quickly, hardly eating or drinking, but despite his obvious decline, staff were alleged to have failed to take appropriate action, leading a coroner to conclude that he could have been saved had medical attention being sought earlier.

A Serious Case Review highlighted failings over a week-long period prior to Mr Dearnley’s death in July 2012, in which his condition ‘deteriorated rapidly’. The report said staff ‘did not appear to understand the seriousness of his condition and failed to respond on a number of different counts’.

Failings included;

  • No single person being responsible for the care of Mr Dearnley and a lack of coordination in his care.
  • Failing to contract a district nurse after his first fall – a decision which meant a GP was not contacted also.
  • Failing to seek medical assistance even though his behaviour changed significantly for four days.
  • Failing to inform a visiting district nurse that he’d suffered a number of falls, or contact a GP to monitor a head injury suffered in a fall.

The safeguarding report added: “There was a week when his health deteriorated and there was one safeguarding concern, but the home failed to call for any medical assistance. There appear to have been nine different staff members who recorded events relating to him, plus some that were not signed.”

When the home finally called paramedics on the day of his death, rapid response teams and ambulance teams reported that they found him appearing ‘neglected’ and being ‘critically ill’, with a strong odour and bedding needing changing.

They also found Mr Dearnley had a dislocated hip, and immediately suspected he was suffering from pneumonia. The safeguarding report also highlighted that Mr Dearnley hadn’t been eating or drinking for the previous fortnight, and was already in a ‘critical’ condition.

Staff were unable to provide any history about his medical condition, a fact which was later criticised by ambulance staff, and Mr Dearnley died three hours after arriving at Hull Royal Infirmary, from aspiration pneumonia.

The review also highlighted poor care provided to a man who died aged 65 at the home, having been a resident at Wyton Abbey for four months, whilst concerns were also raised over the care of a third resident due to the number of falls he suffered, and the management of his Alzheimer’s.

Mr Dearnley’s wife died during legal representations, but Prime Life Ltd recently agreed to pay £5,000 damages, as a result of the legal claim, to his estate. As he had no spouse or dependents, the amount of damages offered was at the lower end of the scale

Clinical negligence solicitor Hayley Collinson, of Hudgell Solicitors said: “Mr Dearnley’s care fell far short of the expected standard, with evidence that he was left in pain, unkempt, and treated with a lack of care or compassion over his lack of eating or drinking.

“His wife was unaware of her husband’s failing health, or that he wasn’t eating or drinking, and it must have been a huge shock to find him hours from death when she returned from her break.

“He had had several spells at Wyton Abbey to give his wife a break in caring from him, as he was suffering from dementia. To discover that he was being so badly neglected must have been devastating for his wife to discover, but by the time she knew how ill he was, it was tragically too late.

“This was an appalling case of neglect at every level, at a company which cares for hundreds of elderly people across the UK. Basic care standards were simply not met, and if they had been, Mr Dearnley’s untimely death would have been avoided.”

Hudgell Solicitors is currently campaigning for CCTV to be installed in all care homes across the UK to prevent cases of abuse and neglect and improve the commitment to providing quality care, ensuring the elderly and vulnerable are protected, respected, loved and cared for with dignity at all times. A petition to the Government now has more than 11,000 signatures.

Prime Life Ltd runs more than 50 care and residential homes across the UK, with its website saying ‘we specialise in providing a high quality standard of living tailored to our clients’ individual needs.’

At present, seven of its facilities have been rated as ‘requiring improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), whilst two have been rated as ‘inadequate’ – Hamilton House & Mews in Catfield, Near Stalham, and Phoenix Park Care Village, in Scunthorpe.

Another of its East Yorkshire based homes, Westerlands Nursing Home, in Elloughton, was rated as requiring improvement when inspected in December 2015, and is currently being re-inspected to see if improvements have been made.

Wyton Abbey was closed in 2015 and was ‘archived’ on the Care Quality Commission website on May 8, 2015, having being de-registered by its owners.

Responding to the claim made regarding Mr Dearnley’s death, insurers acting on behalf of owners Prime Life Ltd wrote: “Upon consideration of both content of the Serious Case Summary and Coroner’s verdict, a viable defence to the allegations of neglect is unrealistic.”

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18/05/2016 No Comments

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