I will never forgive myself …
My dad had been ill with parkinsons disease for about 8 years and my mum was his carer. He was a highly professional man, a vet. In 2011 he was deteriorating but still enjoyed life.
I was very close to him and my parents moved close to me so we could share the care but I also have a family and work full time. Dec 2012 my dad had a fall. I remember it today. 2 am in the morning and mum rang me to say he had fallen in the downstairs toilet and could me and my partner come and help. We were there in minutes and he had an injury needing to be taken to Broomfield Hospital so I took him and sat all night with him. They released us the next day only to call us back in to hospital the following Sunday because they had missed a bleed on the brain. To cut a long story short he was in and out of hospital for December and then back in for January with a urine infection.
At the same time mum went ill and I was working 6 day week to keep my job and visiting dad at the hospital every night. At end of Jan the hospital said they needed the hospital bed but dad was worse not better. Still bad urine infection and confusion. Mum not well and I could not take time off work so quickly so we went to a nursing home in Maldon.
We explained dad needed 1-1 care for 1 month respite while we made plans for carers etc to take him home. They promised us they would do this. Cost a fortune. 1st 2 weeks went ok then we noticed problems. In the respite home he was dirty, other residents were wearing his clothes and lying in his bed. He wandered unaccompanied. BUT we were afraid to complain so early on and how I regret that! At end of Feb we agreed 2 more weeks as no alternative offered, but he got worse. I will never forgive myself for what happened next even though I went every day after work to feed and clean him.
It was a Friday in March 2013 at 5 in the afternoon and I had got home early so went to see him. He was filthy, wet, hungry and wandering around alone clutching a jumper and asking when he had to go to work. The carers said they were short staffed so I said don’t worry I will clean him and feed him. There was so much distress all around in that home that night and dad was due out the following week. At 8 pm I left him watching television to go to see my son. At midnight we got a call he had collapsed and we rushed up to see him. He never recovered and had been lying on the floor alone for god knows how long. He died on in March at the nursing home having never recovered consciousness the day of my birthday.
I will never forgive myself or the home. It has hit me this year more than last. These people are treated so badly and please never trust anything you are told. I wish I had complained and made a nuisance of myself but we were in a corner.
Something has to change because what I saw in that home is worse than what I saw in my dad’s animal hospital. Animals were treated with dignity but dad and the other residents were treated like they were not worth anything. We were lied to by nurses and management and god knows the suffering he went through when we were promised care that was equivalent to a 5* hotel costs. We offered to pay more if they needed it but they denied this. Please do not put any trust in what you are told as we paid the most painful price for doing this.