The resident, Mrs Macknay had moved into Haven Lodge after being discharged from hospital following a stroke. Two weeks after moving into Haven Lodge, she was found semi-conscious in bed by her family. It was discovered that her catheter was blocked which resulted in urinary sepsis. Mrs Macknay was admitted back into hospital and died the same day. Following her death, the CQC inspected the home and found serious failings in Mrs Macknay’s care and that the home had failed in their statutory duty to her.
This serves as a reminder to all care providers that if steps are not taken to ensure residents are safe, then not only can the CQC stop a care home from accepting new residents, suspend or cancel their registration but criminal action may also be taken.
Sarah Cunliffe, specialist in claims against care homes, in our Serious Injury team acted on behalf of the estate of Ivy Spriggs in a claim following her death in April 2017. Ivy, who was 91 at the time, was a resident in Newgrange Care Home in Cheshunt. On 8th April 2017, a fire broke out in the roof at the care home. Although the staff evacuated the building, residents, including Ivy were left in the building. By the time the emergency services arrived the fire had spread and Ivy was found dead in her bed. She had fourth degree burns.
Criminal proceedings were brought and in May 2019 the owners of Newgrange pleaded guilty to five offences contrary to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and were fined £175,000 and ordered to pay some prosecution costs.
The two examples above, illustrate the criminal steps that can be taken against a care provider if they fail in their statutory duties. But what should you do at the first sign of not being happy with the level of care provided by a care home and of course to prevent serious harm to you or a loved one?
The first step is to raise your concerns with the care home. This does not have to be in writing. If this doesn’t resolve the complaint, you can go through the formal complaints process. If the outcome is still not satisfactory, contact your local council if they pay or contribute towards the care fees. They will investigate also.
If you are not satisfied with the Council’s response, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman.
You can also raise a complaint with the CQC. Although their role isn’t to decide on the outcome of a complaint, they can take action if they investigate and find a care home is not meeting standards.
These two cases illustrate the importance of raising concerns as soon as they arise which could help prevent serious harm.
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2023