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 Care Campaign For The Vulnerable

Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is learning of the pressures faced by conscientious led Care Providers striving to offer a caring and safe environment to both service users and staff. Safety monitoring is proving to be a invaluable care assist tool - bringing a more open and transparent culture into care homes as well as saving valuable resources within the care home sector and the NHS

Case Studies

''Mum was checked and deemed fit and well on the Friday and died on the Sunday... unanswered questions remain...''

Added on 3rd January 2021

Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is contacted by worried family members regarding loved ones in care homes suffering a delay in medical attention during the Covid pandemic.

'''Carers started to become hostile when I asked questions about my mum's care....'' Ruth G.

Read here the families account here:-

'''Carers shttps://www-dailyrecord-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/grieving-daughter-demands-answers-over-23551870.amptarted to become hostile when I asked questions about my mum's care....''

'I am seeking some support concerning my mum who died of COVID on 15/11/20 within a care home. There were care concerns throughout lockdown and staff became unhelpful towards me. I highlighted concerns about my mum’s health the week before she died as I observed a dramatic visible decline on our Skype call. The care home staff did not highlight any of the concerns and displayed disinterest in my mum’s wellbeing.

I experienced care issues concerning my mum, especially during a lockdown. I tried to resolve my concerns with no success. There is a paper trail of emails to the care home concerning my concerns and issues. Due to the longstanding problems in my mum’s care, I feel I experienced animosity from the caregivers who dismissed my concerns and displayed unhelpful, unfriendly and uncaring attitudes. In November my mum made comments to me about one staff member being nice (a male ) but stated they weren’t all nice. She also stated, “they are trying to get rid of me in here”. I wish I had explored these comments further but there had been so many issues and petty behaviours from staff. I felt the difficulties I was having with the staff was possibly reflecting badly and impacting on staff behaviour towards my mum.

As stated throughout lockdown I felt staff displayed hostile, untruthful and petty behaviours towards me and I worried about any impact on my mum. There were occasions when issues with Skype calls coincided with my contacting the home over a grievance. The staff made me feel like I was being ungrateful for the care they provided. My efforts to raise concerns and issues were not met favourably and I began to feel nervous and awkward about making contact with the care home. I sent an email to this effect on 04/10/20 but it was ignored. In November I was aware my mum wasn’t eating. On Tuesday 10/11/20 I noticed visible signs of decline. The following day my mum was much worse. I raised concerns and was told by a staff member that it had taken twenty minutes to get my mum to take her medication. Normally my mum took her medication by herself. I was also given contradictory information about my mum’s antibiotics. I contacted the Inspector from the care commission and she offered to speak to the Manager on my behalf as I felt my mum was at the end of her life due to the way she was looking and acting. During the call I also touched on the difficulties I had experienced with staff at the care home and this was the reason for my call to her. The manager raised no concerns during the call with the Inspector.

''I saw my mum on skype call as she looked ''deathly''. The staff and GP reassured me she was doing well and they had no concerns...''

The following day (12/11/20) my mum was again looking gravely ill. This prompted me to contact Dr and Social Work. The home also contacted me that day and informed me that two staff members had tested positive for COVID. I was told it wasn’t in the home. My mum was only tested due to this staff development not because she was unwell. The Doctor attended to see my mum on Friday (13/11/20) and gave my mum a clean bill of health. She informed me that she had not taken blood due to the time of day but didn’t feel there was any need and she had no end of life concerns whatsoever. I have concerns over this GP’s attendance as my mum died on the 15/11/20.

On Saturday (14/11/20) I was informed that my mum had tested positive for COVID.

On Sunday both my sister and I received calls from the care home about my mum’s fluctuating oxygen levels. I was told my mum had refused a shower and her levels had probably gone down when they were carrying out self-care. My mum’s condition was minimised by staff and my sister and I was both separately informed there was no requirement for an ambulance or any other care intervention.

The doctor contacted me from the covid hub and made claims that my mum was no worse from Friday. She informed me that not everyone could receive the same treatment and my mum would only be assessed if she was brought in. She told me they were unable to facilitate any assistance and to monitor for GP to attend on Monday. She spoke about the illness getting worse on day 10 and the second week.

The home contacted me on Sunday afternoon and stated that I could visit my mum. On arrival, the Manager would not permit me to take in a handwritten note stating it was against policy guidelines but eventually put my note inside a Polly pocket. I was told before I went into the room that I could only stay for 10 mins and must not approach my mum. I was completely unprepared for the condition my mum was in. She was unable to move or speak or look in my direction and she was taking loud short breaths. I could see her upper chest going in and out. Again the staff minimised this and told me if my mum brightened up they would do a Skype call. I placed my trust in the staff as they had dealt with an outbreak the month before and told me my mum was doing fine. The manager spoke to me as I left and when I emphasised the need to be with my mum if her condition changed she replied “we are not there yet”

I am concerned that decisions being made in my mum’s care were being based on inaccurate information. I feel that the urgency of my mums' critical condition may not have been expressed clearly to medical professionals in both ambulance control and the covid hub and as a consequence, my mum was not given any opportunity to survive this illness or even to be helped in any way. I feel that staff believed my mum was in the early stages of covid when in fact she had been gravely ill days before. I questioned why an ambulance had not been contacted and was informed by Laura that Dr Nugent did not feel it was necessary. With this in mind, I feel that if we had access to the calls that were made to ambulance control and the covid hub on Sunday 15/11/20 this would provide greater clarity.

Did the staff make inaccurate presumptions? I do not feel they could have failed to notice my mum’s dramatic decline.

My mum was not the only resident to be affected by COVID - other residents were conveyed to hospital and survived. Why was my mum not given this chance? She may well have come through it if her early symptoms had been addressed.

Another lady in the same unit as my mum died on 02/12/20. There is a considerable time difference which also makes me wonder when my mum contracted covid and how long her symptoms remained unnoticed or ignored. Her death certificate states 2 days illness which is wholly inaccurate.

I was told two members of staff had tested positive on 12/11/20.

The first outbreak was on 11/10/20. At this time we were given no information whatsoever but I later found out it was in a unit upstairs to my mum and my mum was unaffected at this time. I know that at least one resident was moved from his upstairs unit to a unit downstairs and he subsequently became ill with covid and spent 5 weeks in hospital but survived. This restructure of residents between units will not have helped with infection control and I feel there may be a connection.

I have requested details of medical notes and care home notes. The Local Authority has informed the family that our request for the care home notes has been refused under the Freedom of Information Act due to confidentiality. I requested under the Health Records Act and I have been informed the care notes are not classed as health records.

''My mother was only tested due to two staff members testing positive. She was diagnosed on Saturday and died on Sunday.''

I feel that staff made a presumption that my mum was in the early stages of covid when in reality she had been seriously unwell many days before and this will have impacted on medical decisions. My mum received no care or intervention to mitigate her distressing symptoms and died alone. It states two days of illness on my mum’s inaccurate death certificate. Staff told me “we are not there yet “ when I asked to be with my mum - she died hours later alone. The doctor in the COVID hub informed me “it gets worse on day ten and second week of illness”.

Staff were stating they were shocked to hear about my mum’s passing. I was permitted a ten-minute visit with my mum on the day she died but was told not to approach her. She looked gravely ill and taking short shallow loud breaths. Staff informed me this was all part of the illness and minimised my mums' critical condition. I am haunted by this visit and for placing my trust in the staff who gave me false reassurance.

There was an outbreak upstairs in the home on 11/10/20 and 12/11/20 I was informed about the staff testing positive but assured it wasn’t in the home. I had raised my concerns about my mum’s decline before this and there was a delay in testing my mother. This will no doubt have impacted significantly on my mother's care and the unit as a whole. Between these dates, I am aware that residents were moved between units as part of a restructure and I feel the second outbreak is linked to the first.

I have requested my mother's care home notes but this has been refused because of confidentiality. I was told that covid hub and ambulance did not think an ambulance was necessary for my mum and I now wonder what information was passed to them when my mum was so critically ill.. I have no voice at the present time and all my questions remain unanswered.'' Ruth.

Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is supporting the family. If you have an interest in this case study please contact ccftv.cares@gmail.com

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Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is learning of the pressures faced by conscientious led Care Providers striving to offer a caring and safe environment to both service users and staff. Safety monitoring is proving to be a invaluable care assist tool - bringing a more open and transparent culture into care homes as well as saving valuable resources within the care home sector and the NHS

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