Anger at ‘ap­palling’ care for el­derly gran

Car­ers left blind woman with­out vi­tal med­i­ca­tion

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

A COM­PANY pro­vid­ing care, cost­ing Hilling­don Coun­cil £1.5 mil­lion a year, left a blind, el­derly woman to live in her own fae­ces and go with­out vi­tal med­i­ca­tion.

Di­a­betic Edith James, 86, from Uxbridge, has been left ‘very de­pressed’ af­ter the ‘lack of re­spect’ shown to her by car­ers from Care Out­look, who pro­vide home care to peo­ple liv­ing in Hilling­don bor­ough.

Edith needs home care, re­ceiv­ing four vis­its a day, to make sure she gets her vi­tal in­sulin med­i­ca­tion, as well as to help her wash, make sure she eats and to help her with tasks such as the laun­dry. But care given to her by Care Out­look, from Fe­bru­ary 2015 on­wards, ‘lacks re­spect and re­spon­si­bil­ity’ says her son, Ray, 63, who thinks about the prob­lems it has brought on the fam­ily ‘ev­ery sin­gle day’.

He said: “I was away and when I came back she had soiled her­self.

“She had walked in it, it was all in her feet and it was all in the hall­way, the toi­let, down the front room in the car­pet, and yet the carer just ig­nored it.

“I was away for two days and there’s no way it had just hap­pened.”

“To be hon­est the first thing that came in my head was, how many houses do they walk into and, be­cause they can’t deal with it, just walk away? And how many peo­ple could have died from their ne­glect? They just walked away like they didn’t see any­thing.

“The car­ers are sup­posed to give her her med­i­ca­tion, but I’ve got quite a lot of dodgy boxes with tablets still in them.

“I’ve also found tablets on the floor as she hasn’t taken them and they’ve fallen on the floor.”

Mr James took his con­cerns to the Uxbridge branch of Health­watch

We are quite frankly ap­palled to see the footage of Mrs James’ care”

Hilling­don, to help his mum who ‘just got on with it as she’s the sort of per­son who would make sure you were okay, not that you were wor­ry­ing about her, be­cause she’s al­ways looked af­ter peo­ple’.

Since then, the case has been aired on Chan­nel 4’s Dis­patches pro­gramme, which spent weeks go­ing un­der­cover and in­ves­ti­gat­ing the qual­ity of Mrs James’ care.

Gra­ham Hawkes, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Health­watch Hilling­don, said: “Since the start of the new provider con­tracts in Oc­to­ber 2014, Health­watch Hilling­don have been work­ing with the coun­cil by gath­er­ing the ex­pe­ri­ences of res­i­dents that re­ceive home care ser­vices.

“We have recorded a num­ber of is­sues sim­i­lar to those high­lighted by the Dis­patches pro­gramme and have re­ported these to the con­tracts team who mon­i­tor the ser­vices pro­vided by lo­cal agen­cies. Over the past six months we have seen a marked de­cline in the num­ber of com­plaints we have re­ceived and had hoped this was an in­di­ca­tion that ser­vices were im­prov­ing.

“Hav­ing watched the pro­gramme, for Mrs James this is clearly not the case.

“We are quite frankly ap­palled to see the footage of Mrs James’ care.”

The health watch­dog raised an adult safe­guard­ing con­cern in June 2015.

Mr Hawkes said: “We re­ported the ex­act same is­sues that were shown and are bit­terly dis­ap­pointed that nine months later they con­tinue.

“We sin­cerely hope that the coun­cil and provider, Care Out­look, will act im­me­di­ately to en­sure that Mrs James’ care is im­proved im­mea­sur­ably.

“We would also urge the coun­cil to look back at how raised con­cerns were ad­dressed and the lessons that could be learned from this case, to en­sure res­i­dents are safe­guarded and re­ceive the qual­ity of care they should ex­pect.”

The Dis­patches pro­gramme has helped the James’s who say they have had an amaz­ing re­sponse since.

Mr James said: “When I had the TV peo­ple there, the carer came round while my mother was in bed, signed the book in front of us all that she was there for half an hour and she was there for 10 min­utes!”

Hilling­don Coun­cil paid Care Out­look £1.5 mil­lion in 2015, while Mrs James was be­ing treated in this way.

Tony Za­man, di­rec­tor of adult ser­vices at Hilling­don Coun­cil, said: “Hilling­don Coun­cil pro­vides home care ser­vice for a large num­ber of el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents through a small num­ber of spe­cial­ist com­pa­nies.

“We ex­pect only the high­est stan­dards of care from them and have a range of ro­bust con­tract and safe­guard­ing pro­ce­dures in place to en­sure these stan­dards are main­tained.

“In ad­di­tion to these pro­cesses, when spe­cific is­sues are raised we work with care providers and ser­vice users to en­sure that these are re­solved and, where nec­es­sary, changes are made.

“Care Out­look and Hilling­don Coun­cil have been work­ing closely with the James fam­ily since their con­cerns were ini­tially raised, to en­sure they are happy with all as­pects of Mrs James’ care, and they have agreed to Care Out­look con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide care go­ing for­ward.”

Care Out­look has re­sponded to the con­cerns raised by Mr James by sus­pend­ing two of Edith’s pre­vi­ous care-givers, pend­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A Care Out­look spokesper­son said: “Care Out­look takes very se­ri­ously its re­spon­si­bil­ity for de­liv­er­ing re­li­able and com­pas­sion­ate care to our clients. Mrs James now has a des­ig­nated care­giver with more time al­lo­cated to meet her spe­cific re­quire­ments.

“Care Out­look trains its staff to ad­here to high stan­dards and we are sorry that these have not been met in the case of the James fam­ily.

“We have strength­ened our pro­ce­dures to en­sure that no other fam­ily has sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences.

“In par­tic­u­lar, lo­cal qual­ity as­sur­ance re­ports are now shared with se­nior man­age­ment on a weekly ba­sis to en­sure that clients with com­plex needs are iden­ti­fied and any prob­lems re­solved early.”

n RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY: case Care Out­look has ‘strength­ened pro­ce­dures’ to en­sure there is no re­peat

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