No-one noticed …



I live in Essex but my Nan xxxxxx was 86 and was in a care home in Cheltenham. My Dad was not happy with her home care and thought she would be better looked after in a “care” home.  In this home they did not pick up on her deterioration in her health and when she had difficulty swallowing no-one noticed and she was not given special powder to make her drinks jelly-like, which they should have done.  They didn’t even get the doctor out to her and one day she swallowed and it went straight to her lungs.

She collapsed on Xmas Day. My Dad walked in and they were reviving her, she went to hospital and two weeks in died on in January 2011.  My Dad, my Aunt and myself (a previous professional carer) think it is easy to notice if you are observant that if someone is having difficulty swallowing. Carers should be trained to do so. We feel my Nan was murdered. I couldn’t even go to the funeral I was so devastated.

I was myself a professional carer from 1993 – 2007. In Essex and Herts working in domiciliary care, mental health care, care home and A&E.

My experiences showed me that a lot of staff in care homes:

*  would rather it on their backsides and talk to each other than look after residents

*  foreign care staff speak in their own languages to each other, and when they are looking after the residents.  They do    not interact as they should with them or other care staff.  Some are sometimes rather rough and abusive with the residents, I observed that some cultures seem to be used to working this way.

*  I observed residents not being washed properly or turned as they should be.

In Hospitals:

*  healthcare assistant s (HCAs) are expected to do everything whilst nurses feel personal care and helping the patients is beneath them.

*  nurses do not chastise poor care by HCAs

*  I have seen HCAs shout at an elderly patient dying of prostrate cancer.

*  In my opinion nurses only give out medication, sit on their backsides and don’t notice problems and they are never with the patients, they are more concerned with paperwork than working on the floor and so things on the hospital floor are not sorted out and they let HCAs just get on with it.

Whilst working in A&E in Essex an elderly woman was admitted with a broken hip after a fall. The woman’s mattress had been on the floor in the care home, she couldn’t move hardly at all so how could she have fallen to break a hip? She also had like carpet burns down her face and body. I recognised the signs of abuse, having been a carer and having trained new carers, and know what can go on and what to look out for, I reported it as possible abuse and it wasn’t even investigated. Something’s got to be done, I have seen too much abuse going on.


Things That Need Improving:

  1. In care homes staff must receive the right training so they can recognise clearly when to call a doctor.
  2. There is no tender loving care.
  3. We need old matrons back on hospital wards.


Joanne Robertson


Essex and Herts

Date Experience Happened



Residential Care Home