Council failed to protect woman in failing care home

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Bristol Council has been slammed for failing to protect an older person with dementia who was left in a zero-rated care home that the authority had identified as having serious safeguarding problems.

The local government ombudsman said earlier action by the council “may well have prevented an appalling incident” in December 2008, in which Mrs Johnson (not her real name) was found by her daughter-in- law in a distressed state, soiled, soaking wet with urine and bleeding over her sheets.

Ombudsman Jane Martin said the council failed to monitor her care regularly from her placement in 2005 until February 2009, despite imposing placement bans on Woodland Crescent (not its real name) twice during this time due to several safeguarding alerts and damning inspec- tion reports.

It also failed to inform Mrs Johnson’s son about the home receiving a zero rating from the Commission for Social Care Inspection in 2008 or the safeguarding concerns at the home, despite him making repeated complaints to Woodland Crescent about the quality of her care during 2008.

Making a finding of maladministration with injustice, Martin said the council had failed in its duties as a commissioners and the lead safe-guarding agency, adding: “It is reasonable to conclude that had more robust action been taken by the council, then the poor standard of care and treatment Mrs Johnson received may have been detected far sooner”.

Mrs Johnson was eventually moved in February 2009 to a more expen- sive home for which her son had to make top-up payments until October 2009, when she was deemed eligible for continuing healthcare funding.

Bristol Council has apologised and accepted Martin’s call to pay Mrs Johnson £6,000 and Mr Johnson £500 in compensation, as well as repay the payments he made for his mother’s care from February to October 2009.

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