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Care Home Chaos - Carers UK Forum

Care Home Chaos

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
I apologise in advance as this is probably going to be a bit of an essay but bear with me; any advice will be appreciated!

After 20+ years of Parkinson's Disease my father has rapidly gone downhill over the last 6 months and is now living in a care home and i guess he is lucky in that he has been granted full continuing healthcare. My mother chose his care home based on a good standard of care he received there during a period of respite last year however, it is a 26 mile round trip to visit so not exactly convenient. At the time of his respite he was able to transfer from wheelchair to bed etc and was still able to feed himself. He is no longer able to transfer and feeding is also difficult. The majority of the other residents appear to be quite self sufficient, only one being more severely disabled than my father.

Admittedly my father is prescribed a huge amount of medication and possibly due to this several of the staff have become confused about what medication is due and he has received incorrect doses and/or medication which is often an hour + late; he is prescribed x 2 sinemet tablets every 2 hours with other medication at various times during the day and night.

Since he moved there approximately 2 months ago my mother feels she has to visit every day using public transport, unless i am available to give her a lift (i work full time), to ensure he receives his medication on time and on a daily basis prompts the staff to remind them that tablets are due, point out that he should be receiving 2 instead of one and on one occasion query what they had given him because the tablet was a different colour to what he should have been given at the time; he had swallowed it by the time they realised it was incorrect. He was in such a state on that day that i feel he had been receiving the wrong medication for several hours.

We have recently become aware that the Care Quality Commission had raised concerns about the homes medication management in January. Apparently the home management are in the process of setting up procedures regarding this however, in the meantime i feel this is a safeguarding issue which needs to be raised. Unfortunately, my mother does not want anything said as she feels that my father would be at risk of some form of retaliation from the staff.

I also have concerns about confidentiality issues as all grades of staff appear to be aware of my parents finances and one informed my mother that we should be paying a top up as the Continuing Healthcare is approx £545 a week and their fees are over £700; i understand that the care home is also receiving his pension and his DLA which will actually take the weekly payment well above what they would usually charge.

Another member of staff also admitted to discussing my father's current health with a woman who used to sit with him to give my mother a break. We have not given consent for this and the information she had passed on had not been shared with ourselves. Her response being that she hoped we didn't mind!?

My father has also been accused of 'attention seeking' by one of the bank staff due to the number of times he needs to go to the toilet - people with Parkinson's Disease often become obsessive about going to the toilet and as he is unable to get there himself and the length of time it takes the staff to answer his alarm he is worried that he will not get to the toilet on time. I do not believe this is attention seeking but rather an anxious man relying on staff who are working in the wrong profession.

At my mother's request i have looked at alternative care homes closer to home. She has accompanied me to look around several homes and she was on the verge of agreeing to have him moved last week but had changed her mind about this by the following day.

Other members of the family have suggested he be moved closer to home but my mother does not feel that they should have any say in where he is as they have done little to help her over the years.

She is complaining constantly about being tired, having to travel so far to visit, the attitude of the majority of the staff in the home, the poor medication management, the lack of activities, the size of his room being too small for someone in a wheelchair and due to the layout of the room he is unable to get anywhere near the window.

I am at a loss as to what to do. I have pointed out that visiting will be worse if he survives until next winter however, she feels his current care home is perhaps the best of a poor choice and at least he gets well fed there. I have found no evidence to suggest that he would not be well fed in any of the other homes we visited and good food is of little importance in my opinion if you are at risk of a potential overdose. Every time i raise a concern she just mentions how good the food is and how nice one of the nurses is with my father; unfortunately that one nurse cannot be there 24 hours a day 7 days a week!

I feel my mother needs a neutral person to give her some advice and have considered getting in touch with my father's social worker however, my mother would not appreciate any interference as she dislikes this person as well.

The home currently has 8 empty rooms and the staff are obviously struggling to cope. If those 8 rooms are filled i cannot see the standard of care improving. The home relies on too many bank staff and there is little continuity of care however, I am now telling my mother that if she is happy with him being in there then that is fine. I know she is not happy but she refuses to make a decision to move him or allow anyone else to be involved with this. At the same time i am worried where all of this is going to end and if i don't force her to agree to move him i am as bad as she is for doing nothing about his situation :S
Hi Noodle,

Welcome to the forum. This isn't anything I have experience of, but didn't want to leave your post unanswered.

I would be very concerned re mistakes with meds. If it were me, I would have to report errors with meds to the CQC. Does your Dad's meds come in special blister packs e.g

http://www.boots.com/wcsstore/ConsumerD ... 112C9B.pdf

Although this wouldn't help with the timing, it would help with giving the right meds and also for checking purposes.

Have you checked their staffing ratio policy? If the other rooms were filled, would more staff be on duty? Though, it does make me wonder, why so any rooms are vacant.

A nearer care home would be easier for visiting and monitoring. What made your Mum chose the current one?

Hopefully others will be along with more advice and personal experience.

Failure to properly administer and control medication is a safeguarding issue: while CQC should be told about it still being a problem, it's a matter for the local social services' Safeguarding Team.
Hi Noodle
The advice I would have given you has been covered by Melly 1 and Charles 47. Hope you get somewhere closer to your Mum for piece of mind alone. Medication for Parkinsons is so important.
Did pm you

Your dad is entitled to his pension even though continuing health care has been granted they only take pension if you have to pay for care also his attendance allowence is they only thing they stop my father inlaw has full continuing health care and gets full pension only thing that got stopped was the attendance allowence we as a family looked into this and rang dwp about pension and they confirm he will still get it also he had a works one too worth checking out
Tracie is absolutely right, Continuing healthcare is non means tested, absolutely free, just as if he was in hospital. This amounts to fraud and I believe may well amount to an offence under the Theft Act. Grt in touch with Social Services tomorrow and let them deal with it. Then contact the NHS Continuing Healthcare department, as they are responsible for dads care arrangements, not SSD, if he is receiving CHC. Also consider putting the whole mattervin the hands of a specialis solicitor, this is all too much for you to handle on your own.