During our 3.5 year complaint processes and 4 years of legal action documents were revealed. Your elderly person or yourself, as next of kin if your loved one has passed, or you have Power of Attorney, even written consent from the elderly person can access medical and social care notes. Via Freedom of Information or Public Access Requests. If you are pursuing legal action, documents will come to light this way also.
When reading some of this documentation our advice is to prepare yourself! And expect anything and everything. However there are some comments and notes you might not even be able to imagine might be written about you. They can be hurtful, unbelievable, shocking and devastating. Even though you were raising genuine concerns.
Sometimes your worst fears can be confirmed. What you felt in the pit of your stomach, what your intuituion was telling you but you daren’t believe at the time, we are afraid can be confirmed in black and white. It can be painful to read. When all you were trying to do is look after, protect your loved one and ask questions about their care.
Whatever was written about us, whatever we did or didn’t do right, we were acting in the best interest of mum, and we were always fair to the people around us. We think sometimes care homes and hospitals forget they do not have total control over an elderly/vulnerable person just because they have been admitted or live in their establishment, nor should they. But they sure ‘can’ act as if they have.
Not listening to relatives, when they are trying to point out important things about their relative, and common sense occurences, which are not being heeded and which the relatives have to point out time and time again. For example, that mum is blind in one eye. She has false teeth. She doesn’t like and would never eat a type of food (despite having been asked to make a list and having given it to them). She needs ‘x’ type of dressing for her pressure sores, not different ones you haven’t bothered to order in. She should be being given pain relief when dressings are changed, when cutting dead flesh from her wounds! When you ask why is her duvet in a bag soaked in urine? Has her continence needs changed, what’s happening? When you point out she ‘is’ getting confused, she was trying to eat the call bell! That you find out she has grade 4 pressure sores on her heels with necrotic flesh!
And still you are not listened to. And to make it worse, all around, including professionals act as if this is all okay or say nothing. Reliving all these painful events, are like a surreal chapter of hell in our lives.
We try to point ‘some’ of the things out so you can try and see what you ‘might’ encounter and prepare yourself. There’s no time to be feeling surreal or wondering if this really all happening around you? Or time to think why isn’t everyone acting with some concern, there is no time to be shocked about how people may act around you, no time when you are trying to look out for an eldelry/vulnerable relative. Act now, don’t let anything go, question everything. If you feel something is not right it probably isn’t.
And remember you are not supposed to feel emotional about poor care you are witnessing. Be aware that good carers may try to help you, and try to give you hints about what is really happening and what they are concerned about but they may not tell you directly but in some round about sort of way, because if they do the consequences will come back to them. If this happens, don’t think, what does that mean? Think something is very wrong. If a good, kind carer suddenly changes her attitude towards you, its not you, they may have been told to keep their distance from you, because you are raising genuine concerns.
We found later having been through this trauma as a family, comments then written like this about us, and wrongful things in notes that were allowed to happen. Sometimes the car establishment can be more worried about how to keep you at a distance that the care they are providing.
Here a a few things that were in mum’s notes:
- the daughter brought in a healer and some essential oils today! (this must be much worse that causing grade 4-5 pressure sores we guess of which there little concern)
- check the medical history of the daughter to see if mental health problems, even after Adult Social Care’s own staff member took out a SOVA against the home we were in, again which we did not know about
- this SOVA was closed down illegally without correct investigation by Adult Social Care, hoping I guess the family would never find out, an of course not investigating the home adequately
- move Renee to a home a distance away so the daughter cannot visit easily
- the daughter has an aggressive attitude
- we have written to the court of protection
- after visiting the GP from the home in his surgery to explain how he had given incorrect and misleading information regarding mum’s health and pressure care, he writes a letter saying we distressed him and struck Katie off his list and mum. No concern for the distress mum was in!
- there were meetings held about Katie and how to deal with her, with no recognition of the genuine concerns she had been raising. Just be aware this ‘can’ go on.
With Adult Social Care, these notes were addressed and apologised for, hence full apologies on the front of mum’s care note see ADULT SOCIAL CARE – APOLOGY DECLARATION ON FRONT OF RENEE’S RECORDS.
What are these attitudes and cultures all about? This needs to change.
Relatives have a right to raise concerns, concerns should be acted upon, and staff should be ‘really’ free to raise concerns about care they see. And the law should protect them.
It causes such a lot of time, effort, heartache, costly complaint processes, legal action – when things could have been put right at the outset. It is not too much to ask to provide the right care in the first place. And it is not most of the time relatives, with too “high expectations” a label that has also been directed at us. You can read our legal expert witness nursing report on this site which will follow soon, you can read the apology letters and the list of service failures to see that is not the case. Basic care and honest interraction with families are not high expectations.attitudes and cultures in health and social care and care homes and other health arenas. Tell us your experiences so that we can encourage positive change.
You can read more about what was in mum’s case files notes and comments made under ‘Articles’ section on the Home page of this website CASE FILE NOTES – COMMENTS MADE AND FAMILIES REPLIES