Abuse in care homes on the rise. What to do if you suspect abuse or negligent care

If you’ve been looking at the news the past couple of days, alongside all the General Election coverage, you may have also seen a horrible story detailing the abuse of a 94-year-old great-grandmother, Paniben Shah, by three care home workers in Brent, who have now been jailed.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. For example, you may also remember that the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulatory body for hospitals, care homes and medical practices in the UK, launched an investigation into Whorlton Hall hospital, a specialist facility for those with learning difficulties, in Nottinghamshire earlier this year following an episode of the BBC’s Panorama which revealed shocking levels of abuse at the facility. Alarmingly, the CQC also revealed that it received 67,500 allegations of mistreatment last year. This represents an 82% rise in the number of allegations of abuse received by the CQC when compared to the 2014 figures.

In addition, the standard of care received by residents in some UK care homes is also of concern, with a BBC report last year finding that a fifth of the care homes in the UK were rated as ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by the CQC.

As they are in a care home, and so require additional care that they may not be fully able to provide for themselves, care home residents can be particularly vulnerable and may not always be able to speak up for themselves if they are receiving inadequate care or are being abused or neglected by the staff. Therefore, while it should be said that the majority of UK care homes are rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by the CQC and are staffed by hard-working professionals, it is important to keep an eye out for any friends or relatives who are in a care home and raise any concerns you may have promptly, as inadequate care, neglect or abuse can lead to a dramatic decline in a person’s health, as was the case with Mrs Shah.

Things to look for include;

  • Repeated bed sores
  • Regular minor injuries or bruising
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Standards of personal hygiene falling
  • A steep deterioration in the resident’s condition

In the first instance, speak to the staff at the care home. There may be an innocent reason that a resident has a bed sore or a bruise and speaking to the staff will ensure that they take extra care going forward.

If things don’t improve though, it is important to take legal advice before taking things further. At The Medical Negligence Experts, we work with legal firms who specialise in care home cases and who have a proven track record in successfully claiming compensation for those who have been abused, neglected or have received inadequate care.

After your initial consultation with our advisors, during which we will talk to you in detail about the particular circumstances and advise whether you may have grounds for a successful claim on a free no-obligation basis, we will match you with the firm who best suits the circumstances of your case. If you do then decide to progress your case, your solicitor will then contact any witnesses to help build the strongest possible case to support your claim. These witness statements, along with any other evidence that has been gathered, will be used not only to prove entitlement to compensation but also to show the extent of the physical and emotional suffering that has taken place to ensure the amount of compensation received is fair.

As shown above, allegations of abuse and inadequate or neglectful care are unfortunately far too commonplace. Because of this, we and the legal firms we work with have a lot of experience in these cases and so, are well-placed to help get the maximum amount of compensation you, your friend or relative is entitled to.

If you have any concerns and would like some advice to see if you, your friend or relative may have a case, do not hesitate to contact The Medical Negligence Experts via the contact form on our website or by calling 0808 501 6432.