Richard Malloy, a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor at GAD Legal Solicitors, recovers damages for injuries and losses sustained whilst a resident in a Care Home. The Deceased suffered pressure sores, repeated thrush infections, dehydration and malnutrition.
Facts of the case
The Deceased resided in care settings for many years and was transferred to a Nursing home in October 2011 which was operated by BUPA Care homes
In May 2017 a safeguarding report was made to the Clinical Commissioning Group. Care plan records were checked and it was documented that in February 2017 the deceased had a grade 2 pressure sore and by May it was graded as a 4. Concerns were raised in respect of pressure sore repositioning and treatment as well as compliance with dietician advice / requirements.
A Section 42 investigation was commenced. This occurs when a Local authority is concerned that an adult is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect. This was in conjunction with a number of other safeguarding referrals made at the same time concerning other residents.
Improvement plans were proposed as well as new managers to improve standards. It was reported that BUPA managers acknowledged issues with the home, were seeking to improve the situation and accepted that the care the deceased had received was not to the standard they wanted
The outcome was substantiated and the Care Home was advised to put the following protective measures in to forestall a repeat of similar problems in the future:
The Care Home was ensure that:
- All fluid charts to be kept up to date and monitored regularly;
- All records to be properly updated, kept and archived;
- More training to be put in place immediately re:food and fluid chart completion, monitoring, recording and archiving;
- Improve communication;
Additionally in May 2017 a comprehensive CQC inspection was conducted and the home was found to be in in breach of Regulations 11, 12 and 17 of the Health and Social Care Act (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and it concluded that the governance of the home had not been up to standard. This included findings that the home was not maintained to a safe standard and that regular checks had not been carried out to ensure that maintenance was up to date.
The home was not compliant with the Mental Capacity Act (2005). Appropriate arrangements were not in place for people who were unable to safely consent to their care. There was no manager working at the home and the home had lacked any clear and effective leadership for a period of time which had resulted in a decline in the service being provided. Most of the day duty shifts were run by agency nurses who had limited knowledge of the people who lived at the home.
Richard Malloy at GAD Legal Solicitors was instructed by the family of the deceased. The case was investigated and formal allegations were put to the care home including that they;
- Failed to implement an appropriate plan in respect of the Deceased’s nutrition evidenced by sporadic contemporaneous notes regarding nutrition as well as documented evidence that dietary plans were not being implemented including but not limited to the failure to fortify food and provide powdered milk supplements.
- Failed to implement an appropriate plan in respect of the Deceased’s fluids and ensuring these were maintained at appropriate levels as evidenced by sporadic contemporaneous notes and fluid balance charts.
- Failed to implement an appropriate plan in respect of repeated infections of oral flush.
- Failed to implement an adequate care plan with regard to pressure relieving strategies including but not limited to regular repositioning and equipment.
- Failed to provide any or adequate pain relief in respect of the pressure damage.
As a consequences of these failings it was alleged that the deceased suffered malnutrition and continual weight loss. She suffered pressure damage, the most significant of which was a Grade 4 sacral pressure sore.
As well as the pressure damage the deceased suffered repeated oral thrush infections resulting in the deceased being left in pain and struggling to eat and drink, no doubt exacerbating the issues with inadequate nutrition.
In summary whilst it was not alleged that her death had been caused by the failures, it was alleged that during the last 9 months of the deceased’s life she had endured significant and avoidable pain and suffering.
The Defendant admitted liability in full.
Following negotiations the Parties reached a negotiated settlement in which the Defendant agreed to pay substantial damages as well as the family’s legal costs. The case settled without the need for Court Proceedings to be commenced.