I’d have put pillow over Dad’s face had I known …

My Dad was 81, he had vascular dementia.  This was about 8 years ago, 2007.  These memories live with me.  Dad was elderly, wandered, vulnerable.  He needed more care and it was said that he sould have someone move in and care for him full time.  We did this.

He took to some people and others he really didn’t.  I shopped for him and the list of shopping was getting longer and longer and each time the shops would be larger and then – I found the live-in carer had moved his girlfriend in!

He had no idea how to care, we complained and the people were removed.

He wanted to stay in his own home and had a Social Services Care assessment and they said he needed to be in somewhere.  He went into a care home in XXXXXXXXXXXX.  We agreed to this to keep him safe and the first weekend they called us and said that he had smashed up his room and would we come down!  He was the gentlest man you could possibly meet, we could not understand it?  We found him with huge bruises and gashes on him.  They said he had to be restrained, that he was violent.  We had never seen this before and we put it down to the dementia, and possibly the disruption of the  move to the care home.  We couldn’t understand it.

Eventually we found out there was bad care, he had got no food because they took it away before he ate it, he had pressure sores all over his body and this was within 9 months.  We asked about his medication and couldn’t find out about it, they seemed to make it a secret about his care and we were told that we could not have his own GP we had to have the care home’s GP they said.  We took it that this was the truth which it maybe wasn’t.

I had worked in the public sector Essex County Council for 20 years and I thought staff there were doing their best regarding care – I realised it was a farce!

When Dad went to hospital and I spoke to Social Services there, they said “we can’t talk to you now we have an old boy come in in a bad state and we have to go”.  I said “that is my Dad!”, “covered in sores!”.  We saw him every day in that home and we did not know he even had these pressure sores.   When I got to him in the hospital he was calling out for me “what is happening? what is happening?” he was saying.  It was just awful.

We complained, – and the home would not have him back.

Moved to another home now in XXXXXXXXXXX, we lodged a complaint to Social Services, we had huge meetings in XXXXXXXXXXX and they declared that the home had failed my Dad – however they also said they felt a lot of his condition was from his resulting conditions from his dementia.  Two to three months after this the care home closed.  We found this strange.

We as a family were so distressed after my Dad died that we didn’t follow up all this like we should have, we can see clearly now that we should have done.

I would have put a pillow over my Dad’s face had I known what he would suffer – a man of outstanding character all his life.  An ending to his life like that is appalling. (crying)

I wish with all my heart he had not gone into that home, we didn’t know any other options at the time.  We thought we were putting him somewhere safe.  My sister said we should call the police, but I said no, and we didn’t, we didn’t want trouble coming back on my Dad and we don’t doubt it would have done.  We would do different now.

He didn’t understand what was going on thank god.  We thought we were doing the right thing.  After this home closed we couldn’t find out anything about this home and why it was closed down so quickly.  It was 8 years ago and feel as if it is very recent still.  We have no choice but to move on and try to get over it.  We talk about it quite often, we know what happened was wrong.  We trusted that he would get the care and he didn’t.

We hope it is not typical.

In addition my elderly father-in-law 3years ago in Broomfield Hospital had a bad experience, we feel he was not looked after properly and he says he was not helped to go to the toilet, we found him weeing in a nearby sink because he said they didn’t take him and he couldn’t get there.

Things That Need Improving:

  1. Keep relatives informed in a care home.
  2. Share information with relatives - medication etc.
  3. It shouldn't all feel secret and famlies should feel like we are getting in the way. We advise seek assistance on getting answer, be forthright and get answers and don't be afraid to question. I would do that now, I would be straight in there.

Name

Anonymous

Town

Braintree and District Area

Date Experience Happened

2007-2008

Category

Nursing Home