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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

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

People need to see how badly my mum suffered and must sign the petition for CCTV in care homes

Freda's family


The daughter of an 85-year-old woman who developed ‘horrific pressure sores’ whilst in a residential home say they’ve shared pictures of her injuries to highlight continued poor treatment of the elderly – urging people to sign a petition calling for CCTV to be installed in all care homes.

Freda Jobson, who suffers from dementia, developed pressure sores on her lower back, hips and feet whilst a resident at the Keldgate Manor Residential Care Home in Beverley, East Yorkshire.

The sores have been described as ‘some of the worst seen’ by Lauren Dale, a medical negligence solicitor at Hudgell Solicitors, who is now representing the family.

Pictures of the sores, which form part of a compensation claim, have been released by the family in a bid to raise awareness around the poor care of the elderly.

They are also urging people to sign a national petition campaign calling for CCTV to be made compulsory in all UK care and residential homes.

Mrs Jobson was a resident at Keldgate Manor Residential Care Home from July 2012 until March 2015, when her family caught members of staff mocking and taunting her on a secret camera they placed in her room.

Court action has seen those carers sentenced for ill-treatment, and now the family are launching legal action over the sores she suffered.

Her daughter Maddy, 51, who today appeared on ITV’s This Morning to tell her story with Mrs Jobson’s granddaughter Hayley, said: “Initially I didn’t intend to release these pictures, as they are very distressing and upsetting, but we’ve come to the point now, after all we have been through and continue to go through, where we want people to know how my mother suffered when at this home.

“We strongly believe CCTV should be installed in all care and residential homes now. My mother was abused by staff who taunted her. We then discovered she had been allowed to develop these horrific injuries whilst in their care.

“We need cameras now to stop abuse and neglect in care homes, and to ensure those looking after the elderly are aware their actions will be filmed. Hopefully, by releasing these images, other families will also be more aware of how bad pressure sores can become when elderly and vulnerable people are not cared for properly.

“There is no excuse for it, but all we have heard so far from the home is that they were not responsible for the medical care of my mother.

“How on earth can they have allowed her to reach this level of sores and pain without referring her to hospital? We just thought that the time had come to make the people responsible for looking after my mother face serious questions, and the scrutiny of others.”

Whilst in the home, Mrs Jobson suffered sores on her right hip and right buttock which measured 6cm x 3cm with a depth down to the bone, with ‘extensive underlying tissue damage and destruction.’

These have been classed by an independent medical expert as being the worst level ‘Grade 4’ sores, which require immediate treatment and usually surgery to remove.

She also had Grade 4 sores to her toe and elbow, whilst her heel was in such a bad state it was considered ‘ungradeable’, with around 85 per cent dead tissue.

Mrs Jobson was moved to Beverley Community Hospital last March following the family’s undercover work, which caught staff mocking and laughing at her. Maddy says the transformation in her mother since leaving Keldgate Manor has been amazing.

“She is a different person now and it is a joy to go and see her. I used to dread going to see her before as she had no life.” she said.

“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.

“Beverley Community Hospital have been absolutely fabulous, I can’t speak highly enough of them.

“It has been a huge relief to see her so well looked after. Her sores have healed fantastically, both on her back and on her heels, because she is being properly cared for and is eating the right food, which is mashed for her, and getting the right nutrients.

“I still feel guilty for not acting quickly enough when she was at Keldgate. Hopefully people will see these sores and it will make them question the treatment of their relatives more, and think about taking action to call for better protection of the elderly.”

Despite it being accepted medically that around 95 per cent of pressure sores can be avoided with appropriate care, they had developed despite Keldgate Manor having identified Mrs Jobson as being at high risk of developing sores as long ago as January 2013.

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13/05/2016 No Comments

Our call for CCTV in UK care homes has sparked an important debate over elderly care

Give me dignity advert


Renu Daly, a specialist in handling claims of abuse and neglect at Hudgell Solicitors, reflects on the impact of our campaign calling for CCTV in all care homes.

Two weeks ago we launched a campaign calling for the Government to make it compulsory for all care and residential homes in the UK to install CCTV systems.

Our reasoning was simple. We have seen far too many cases across the country in which abuse and neglect has been caught on camera by worried relatives of those in care.

These people have turned to secret filming as a last resort.

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17/02/2016 No Comments

Hudgell Solicitors calls for compulsory CCTV in care homes to prevent abusive and neglectful care of the elderly

care home campaign


Hudgell Solicitors is calling for CCTV systems to become compulsory in care and residential homes across the country in a bid to prevent cases of abuse and neglect of the elderly.

It follows an increasing number of cases in which concerned families have caught care home staff either abusing or neglecting their loved ones by secret filming and recording.

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02/02/2016 2 Comments

Latest care standards report highlights poor treatment of hospital patients with Alzheimer’s

Nurse helping lady


By Simon Wilson, senior solicitor at Hudgell Solicitors

Care of the elderly in the UK has again come under major scrutiny following the publication of a new report which has claimed dementia patients are being left ignored for hours on hospital wards, often being denied food, fluid and pain relief.

It comes after the Alzheimer’s Society carried out detailed surveys of 574 relatives and carers, and submitted Freedom of Information requests to health trusts.

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19/01/2016 No Comments

Patient safety highlighted as a major concern at health providers across the UK

Doctors


A new report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – described as providing the fullest picture yet of the state of care across England – has highlighted many areas of concern.

The national ‘State of Care’ report has concluded that more than half of hospitals inspected require improvement – with 13 per cent considered ‘inadequate’ in terms of patient safety.

In all, the CQC found three-quarters of the 79 hospital trusts it inspected to have safety problems. More than 40 per cent of care and nursing homes and home care services and one in three GP services were also highlighted as having problems with safety.

As specialists in handling cases of medical negligence, much of our work at Hudgell Solicitors centres around investigating health providers who have failed simply in their duty of care. Avoidable errors are made, and these can have devastating, life-changing consequences for the patients involved.

These recent inspections, which were part of a new “tougher” regime headed by chief inspector of hospitals Professor Sir Mike Richards, considered how well health and care providers are protecting patients from abuse and harm.

Figures showing that more than one in every 10 hospitals failed to meet the expected safety standards, and that 937 warning notices were handed out to care home demanding urgent improvements, highlight that vast improvements need to be made.

This report was compiled by considering five factors. Inspectors looked for safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led establishments.

Staffing levels have of course been highlighted as a reason for standards dipping, but it is interesting to note that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said it is cuts made to senior nursing roles which is having the biggest impact, having a negative effect on training and leadership skills.

Indeed, the RCN says there are 5,000 more nurses now registered than there was in 2014, and 7,000 more than in 2010, so to simply say there is not enough staff on wards appears to be something of a red herring.

Leadership and direction is clearly lacking, however.

Throughout the findings in this report, there is a clear link between quality of leadership and quality of services. All inadequate services had inadequate leadership (84 per cent) and 94 per cent of services rated good or outstanding had good or outstanding for leadership.

This suggests the failings are not on the wards or in theatres, where we find thousands of dedicated, talented and caring medical professionals and staff across the country, but in the leadership and direction from the top.

There is a clear need to tighten and improve policies, procedures and standards across the UK, as only by doing so will we see consistently high-quality services delivered.

It is for that reason that we believe we continue to play a crucial role in our work at Hudgell Solicitors in holding health trusts to account over poor care.

We represent the patients, and as today’s report has highlighted, there is still much work to be done to provide us all with standard of care we deserve.

 

 

 

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15/10/2015 No Comments

Hudgell Solicitors to conduct ‘full and thorough investigation’ into abuse of Alzheimer’s sufferer in Birmingham care home

Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp


Solicitors representing the family of an Alzheimer’s sufferer who was filmed being threatened, intimidated and mocked by care home staff say they will ensure a ‘full and thorough investigation’ is held into how the abuse was allowed to happen.

Hudgell Solicitors, specialists in handling cases of care home neglect and abuse, are representing the family of 68-year-old Bridget McDonald in a civil claim, and say a serious questions remain unanswered following a police investigation, and the sacking of the staff involved at The Ridings care home in Birmingham.

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25/09/2015 No Comments

What to do if you suspect care home abuse

Nurse pushing old man in wheelchair


If a loved one is in care, you want to feel assured that they are in good hands. Unfortunately, some cases come to light that expose negligence and abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is not receiving adequate care, or is being harmed, here are the next steps to take.

What are the signs of care home abuse?

Abuse can be physical or psychological. For those in care, openly discussing this with you may be difficult. It may be, however, that you are spotting the signs of abuse. These might be unexplained injuries, perceived fearfulness, weight loss, or withdrawal.

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02/09/2015 No Comments

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