News & Events
Pressure Sores Not the Only Problem in Cornwall Care Home Scandal
- Posted by: curtislegalwp
- Category: pressure sores
It seems that it was only an undercover investigation by BBC’s Panorama reporters that led to four residential homes for the elderly run by the Morleigh Group in Cornwall being rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The undercover reporting and subsequent visits by CQC inspectors uncovered horrifying conditions at the four Cornwall homes, including pressure sores, urine soaked beds, residents left to fend for themselves for hours or even days without attention and inadequate medication.
The health watchdog reported that the homes had allowed elderly residents to live in “grim, shoddy and unsafe conditions”.
Even though the private family run company that administered the homes had already been told to improve conditions previously, it appears that nothing had changed before each of the homes was put in special measures after the CQC inspections.
The BBC Panorama team went undercover in Clinton House in St. Austell and St. Theresa’s in Callington and discovered that the homes not only had inadequate levels of staffing, what staff they did have did not treat the people in their care with the appropriate care to prevent them from suffering.
Pressure sores are always a possibility when people are either bedridden or immobile for hours at a time, but the problem can be alleviated or prevented from occurring if the person at risk is moved frequently. The sores are really ulcers which develop due to friction between the skin and the surface where they are sitting or lying. If pressure sores are left untreated, they can lead to serious internal infection and even death.
The inspectors found that one of the residents at Elmsleigh Care Home in Par had been left for up to 8 hours without being moved, despite him being at high risk of developing pressure sores. The same resident also suffered from incontinence, which meant that long periods without attention resulted in not only pressure sores developing, but urine burns caused by a reaction between urine and exposed skin.
At the same care home, the inspectors reported that some residents had been left with meals uneaten in front of them all day, even though it was known that they had to be encouraged to eat. Some residents were underweight and it was not obvious whether the staff at the home were aware of the condition of these people.
At Clinton House, which was actually closed down after the Panorama expose, CQC inspectors noticed one man who had been crying out in distress but was ignored for 90 minutes before being attended to. Three days went by before another resident was given medicine that had been prescribed. The report for Clinton also said that one of the residents nearly fell out of a wheelchair because he had not been attended to, even though he was known to be at risk of a fall.
At St. Theresa’s, another resident had been left for hours despite being known to be at risk of pressure sores. Appropriate medical treatment for the sores had also been delayed for five days.
At Collamere nursing home in Lostwithiel, it was only after an inspector’s visit that a GP was called to review the pain relief treatment for one resident who had been calling out in pain day and night for several days during the inspection. After correct medication the resident was able to get adequate sleep.
The Morleigh Group owners have since apologised for any distress to residents in the care of their homes and have claimed that they have made changes to staffing levels and have also dismissed certain staff whose actions were particularly reprehensible.
Pressure sores are not an inevitable consequence of being a resident at a nursing home or care home. Well run homes that understand how to prevent serious medical issues like pressure sores do not have these sorts of problems. The existence of pressure sores, as this investigation has demonstrated, is usually the tip of the iceberg when it comes to negligence in a nursing home. If you have an elderly family member who has been known to have developed pressure sores, you should take this up vigorously with the management at the home. If there is no improvement, talk to a personal injury solicitor about the possibility of making a claim against the home.