Poor Care, No Justice

A care home abuses an elderly resident. The authorities cover up.

The key in Policy Acts Guidance is the difference between the words must and should.

If it is us - guidance is used as compulsory. If it is them, it is only guidance and in a court of law not obligatory.

The fact is, we are forced into complaints procedures due to questions not being answered - most complaints policies are not complied with and most say questions are not complaints - it makes no difference.

Here is my experience;

Ask questions people wish to avoid and they either ignore the communication or the specific questions - because they know knowledge is power and because they are hiding things deliberately.

They then claim your repeated attempts to get any action or answers have been responded to - responded to is the key - no action and not necessarily any answers but to any third party reading they will interpret that the response has answered the questions when it has not.

Then we are accused of overwhelming or of repeated requests - because we have received no full answers or actions required to remedy a given situation .

We are then either told our repetitive requests are vexatious or if we are not happy with the responses (we have not got) to go to "Complaints".

Those who are supposed to implement the complaints procedure then ignore evidence, ignore material witnesses - an investigation process that in the real meaning of the word that the public understand is meaningless and mostly not worth the paper it is written on.

We may get an apology but nothing is rectified, addressed or remedied as by now the matters raised originally are often academic as things have moved on so far.

We are then sent to the ombudsman - who has no power to enforce anything - but no one tells you that including the ombudsman. He can only make recommendations. He does not take account of current acts or rights and has no one to answer to. He may make a recommendation but never asks the authority to provide evidence or prove they have implemented it. The authority will write back saying we are going to do this or that and how but provides no proof of implementation or change of policy.

The Local Government Ombudsman will also not send you any evidence their decision is based on. This is often subjective and in league with the authority - as far as I am aware each council is allocated to certain Local Government Ombudsman investigators - so relationships are built. The authority can say anything it wishes to defend itself but is rarely asked to verify or validate its statements - these are just accepted.

Then within very strict time guidelines you may try for judicial review but cannot afford a lawyer and probably will not win. It will cost you your sanity and an arm and a leg in the mean time. If it is about a loved one they have probably died - check out the Local Government Ombudsman results relating to persons who died whilst waiting for justice regarding elderly care and the like.

All the above is my experience multiple times - I never got to judicial review as the price and risk are too high for us normal people.

Anyone getting into the arena with the authorities needs to know:

Mostly they will not tell the truth.

They will nearly always be ambiguous if they answer anything.

They will not put anything in writing you can use.

They will send endless holding emails, try to wear you down and often succeed.

They will push you from one to the other each time losing some of the original issues raised.

They will never admit fault unless forced to and even then their admission is limited.

M.P.s and councillors will rarely be of any practical help.

No one will support us in practical terms. The bog standard response is "See a solicitor" that no one can afford. Most authorities have the taxpayers' purse of unlimited funds to fight anything.

All of the above while attempting to get a remedy to a wrong at the time of the wrong - complaints policies mostly say a remedy should be sought to prevent complaints but that is not what the complaints process is for - it is for them to push you out of the way and for them to police themselves - who in their right mind ever believed that self-policing is justice?

My mother was abused and neglected as others were in a care home that was under serious service level investigation by the Local Authority at the time, from July 2014 to December 2015 when the home closed.

That care home, York Court in Battersea, was owned by Four Seasons Health Care - the largest care home provider in the UK, which has over 400 homes run by around 88 different companies. It was the subject of 56 complaints to the Care Quality Commission, 7 of which were whistle blowing. It failed all four Care Quality Commission inspections from July 2014 until September 2015 with 19 breaches of fundamental standards. The home only opened in September 2013. Four Seasons Health Care announced it would close after the last inspection in September 2015. It closed in December 2015.

The press - tomorrow you are yesterday's news. They do not validate or verify information given by the authorities or care home and only mention "A spokesperson" so you cannot contact the person making misleading and ambiguous statements to the press as if they are verified facts or dispute the responses. These remain in print as if they are concrete facts when often the statements made are damage limitation and are intended to avoid accountability or responsibility. The victim is given no opportunity to respond to say what has been said is wrong. The newspapers report what they are told and do not investigate or carry out investigative journalism. They will not ask pertinent searching questions nor tie the authority down to answer specific questions and will rarely do a follow-up. When I approached my local newspaper about lack of follow up regarding this abusive home, that was reported 3 times, the answer was, "We have no reporters ...."

The Local Authority has admitted it started the serious service level investigation in June 2014 due to concerns about institutional neglect and abuse but no one stopped anyone getting hurt in York Court. I believe the investigation went on until it closed in December 2015. No one will quote the outcome of that investigation as a material witness to the abuse, neglect and poor care that I reported to the Care Quality Commission including specific staff. I expected at some point to be spoken to as a witness as part of safeguarding or that investigation. I was not. Neither were others who reported to the Care Quality Commission, Local Authority or care home

I visited my mother every day until she died recently in a different home. York Court gave her notice to quit in order to get rid of me and to avoid addressing complaints after I showed them photographs of poor care, neglect and bullying that they failed to act on. I was counter accused of abusing and hurting my mother by staff - the very perpetrators of bullying, abuse, neglect and poor care - and was taken to the Court of Protection by the Care Commissioning Group accused of abusing and injuring my mother with no other evidence except staff statements. I was accused of not acting in my mother's best interest because she lost her placement in the home and I was cited as the reason.

Before the case was even heard at the preliminary hearing my Lasting Power of Attorney was suspended and restrictions were placed on me that made my mother suffer. No-one cared about the effect of those restrictions on my mother and her views were never presented to the court by her Official Solicitor as I believe they should have been under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in the very court that is supposed to uphold persons who lack capacity rights. None of the allegations of abuse held up, and in spite of the court knowing that home was harming residents it still took my Lasting Power of Attorney away stating that I challenged professionals mostly meaning the authorities and the GP who subjected my mother to a daily fluid target of 600 millilitres. This is less than half the NHS Royal College of Nursing and European recommended adequate daily amount. My mother ended up in hospital due to lack of fluids, though this was denied by all.

Multiple residents got injuries with unknown causes in the care home, some believed to be caused by a member of staff I had reported four or five times. My complaints were ignored and my mother's G.P. from the same surgery looking after that care home said in court she did not know about other residents or patients getting injuries with unknown causes - really?

The G.P.s surgery raised one safeguarding issue and that was against me - based on scrap notes made by the very staff who perpetrated the poor care, neglect and abuse at York Court.

The Care Quality Commission, Local Authority Care Commissioning Group and GP surgery all knew about the problems at this care home. What did they do? The Care Quality Commission gave a warning notice and asked the care home to complete action plans - no punitive action was taken, no one was made responsible or accountable. The person named on the Care Quality Commission web site as responsible for York Court and many others owned by Four Seasons Health care was not responsible so why is her name there ? The Care Quality Commission will not say.

Post April 2015 certain breaches became prosecutable by the Care Quality Commission without notice. In September 2015 that care home failed another inspection. Post inspection the same month the care home company informed relatives the home would close by December 2015 which it did - no one was made responsible or accountable.

To date the Local Authority has refused to reveal the outcome of a serious service level investigation which took more than a year. So has the M.P., local councillor, Care Commissioning Group and all others - I was told it was just a process with no outcome, so I am not sure what the point was.

I and others reported staff for abuse, neglect and poor care. No one will tell us what action was taken - the Local Authority says the company took appropriate internal action - but no one will say what that was. Have those staff gone on to work elsewhere to abuse again?

My mother and others got needless grade 3 plus pressure ulcers there.

I was taken to the Court of Protection by the Care Commissioning Group who knew this home was unsafe and all maintained in court this home was safe for my mother to stay in and that it was in her best interest to remain there. Even my mother's solicitor - supposedly acting for my mother and knowing all the above facts - just sided with the Care Commissioning Group.

My Lasting Power of Attorney of 35 years was taken away. All the abuse allegations were thrown out but all the lies and perjury were ignored by the court .

This has been my experience every time poor care has been proven. No one supports the resident or family who rarely have a witness whilst visiting and alerting the authorities to such matters. All are complicit in this vile care home culture - care homes do as they wish. They are private companies and private property, so they can call the Police at any time to have you removed for any fabricated reason. They can give your loved one notice to quit for many fabricated reasons, issuing threats to keep relatives quiet.

We leave our loved ones in care homes and go home crying. We do not know how to protect them as they will be used as a pawns.

Counter allegations of abuse and harassment are the norm and the weapon of choice which has replace the weapon of racial prejudice.

The authorities mostly do not care about our loved ones, whether they are elderly, disabled, children or mentally challenged and it seems would be happier if all were removed from the face of this country. The muted thousands with no protection laws, acts that we cannot enforce and human rights we cannot exercise. If you try no one listens. Only a court can help - a court that none of us can afford, may also be corrupt and tends to side with the authorities unaware of the corruption or ignoring it.

The result is months or years of distress and worry watching our loved ones lives being eroded and their rights ignored.

The Court of Protection is supposed to uphold the Mental Capacity Act 2005 - it ignored the fact that my mother's views were never sought by her solicitor and never presented to the court. My mother may as well not have existed for the purpose of the court case - the judge ignored the fact that the home was abusing and neglecting residents, was under investigation and was closing. I was found to not be acting in my mother's best interest because I questioned the decisions and actions of the professionals that were complicit in the neglect and abuse.

All allegations of abuse were thrown out of court but what is of grave concern is that I had no solicitor and no one would tell me the process at the Court of Protection as that constitutes legal advice. I had over 1100 pages of substantive evidence - the judge decided he had no time to go over all my evidence for my defence, which I had wasted months collating. He limited the applicant and me to 150 pages of evidence as he said that was fair. The applicant barely had 150 pages where as my defence was all the documentation I had collated proving neglect, acts of omission and my mother's suffering - all ignored.

My mother ended her days in hospital. Her new care home had refused to call a GP to visit in spite of two requests by me the day before she was admitted as an emergency by the out-of-hours doctor. I also sent the home a note three days before she went into hospital saying she was ill. This was ignored. I wrote to her Care Commissioning Group care coordinator asking for help informing the home that my mother was ill two days before she went into hospital. This was ignored. I believe her end was caused by a drug given without consent or discussion. Three fractures in her leg were found in hospital. No-one was held responsible, but we know they did not happen in hospital as the orthopaedic surgeon said they happened four to six weeks prior to the x-ray that identified the fractures. She had been walking with a broken leg.

Every day we see horror stories regarding our elderly and loved ones. We all know what is going on but the authorities do nothing until they are forced to or until there are too many bodies to ignore.

Harold Shipman was a doctor - how did he get away with all for so long? He was not questioned because he was a doctor - a professional who was placed above telling the truth.

No more Hippocratic oath. Sad times.

We and them have that future to look forward to in care homes that care little if they help you along the road to death as there are thousands waiting for placements which do not exist.

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E-mail ijjohnston@totalise.co.uk