Council at fault after care home resident gets wrong medication

Nottingham City Council Loxley House © westbridgfordwire.com
Nottingham City Council Loxley House © westbridgfordwire.com

Nottingham City Council has agreed to waive care home fees after a man was left at increased risk of choking because he was given the wrong medication.

It comes after a detailed investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) found the council was at fault.

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The man’s son described his father’s treatment as “substandard and neglectful care”, however the ombudsman did not agree with this claim.

A report published by the LGO said: “There was an incident on December 7, 2016, where Mr M ‘almost choked to death as a consequence of poor care’.”

His son, described as Mr F, then contacted the council and asked for his father be moved to a different care home.

For reasons of anonymity, the care homes and the names of the individuals have been omitted by the ombudsman.

This new care home was more expensive, but Mr F said the council agreed to waive the extra charges.

Mr M, who passed away in April 2018, suffered from health issues including problems with swallowing which gave him a risk of choking.

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Mr M was prescribed thickeners for his fluids to reduce this risk.

Once he was moved to the new care home, his speech and language therapist observed that Mr M was given the wrong thickeners. She reported this to his social worker, who then raised a safeguarding alert.

The man also complained about the quality of food at the care home. He had lost 2.3kg in about two months.

His son was dissatisfied and complained to the ombudsman – an independent person who investigates complaints.

He said the wrong thickeners were being used from the date his dad moved into the second care home, and the council’s monitoring of the quality of care had been inadequate.

The council has accepted there was fault when Mr M was given the wrong thickener, placing him at risk of harm.

The ombudsman said: “This caused distress to Mr M and Mr F.

“I realise Mr F considers his father received poor care throughout his stay in Care Home B [the second care home] but I have seen no evidence of that.

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“The safeguarding investigation did not determine that Mr M had been given the wrong thickeners before January 16, 2017, and I have seen no other evidence of poor care from December 8, 2016.

“In response to our enquiries, the council acknowledged that the date of January 26, 2017, as the date for waiving Mr M’s contributions seemed arbitrary.

“It did not accept Mr M had received “abusive and neglectful care” for the duration of his placement and noted Mr F had been keen for Mr M to stay after Care Home B served notice.

“However it accepted there was evidence of fault from January 16, 2017. The council therefore offered to waive Mr M’s contributions from that date.”

The ombudsman concluded: “There was fault when Mr M was put at risk of choking, causing distress to Mr M and his son. The council’s offer to waive some fees is sufficient to remedy this injustice.”

A spokesman for Nottingham City Council said: “We accept the findings of the Ombudsman in this case and are pleased that a resolution was found.”