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Dispute Resolution

Care Home Claims

Care Homes provide care and treatment to our most vulnerable citizens. Looking after elderly people as they near the end of their lives is a privilege and a challenge. It is for that reason that care homes are highly regulated and society’s expectations of them high.

The Care Inspectorate is directly responsible for licencing care homes in Scotland. The Care Inspectorate regularly monitors care homes to ensure adequate standards of care are maintained.

Recently, the Inspectorate has involved itself in two relatively high-profile Scottish cases, addressing the poor levels of care in Greenlaw Grove care home and Muirhead care home.

There are approximately 820 care homes for the elderly in Scotland. Whilst, the majority of care homes provide good quality care, a small but significant number of care homes do not.

The Care Inspectorate regularly publishes details of its inspections of care homes on its web site. The statistics for March 2018 suggest that there are a number of care homes which are operating below an acceptable standard.

  unsatisfactory poor adequate good very good excellent
Quality of Care and Support 0.4% 3.6% 14.1% 37.8% 38.5% 5.4%
Quality of Environment 0.5% 2.2% 7.4% 27.8% 55.6% 9.3%
Quality of Staff 3% 2.7% 13.4% 39.8% 41.3% 2.6%
Quality of Management & Leadership 0.4% 5% 14.7% 37.7% 37.5% 4.7%

These statistics suggest that around 32 care homes in the period were assessed as having an unsatisfactory or poor quality of care and support. Similarly, 5.7% of care homes in the period had unsatisfactory or poor quality of staff. Examples which regularly arise are poor staff training; staff not being registered with the appropriate professional body or inadequate staff cover.

When a care home is deemed to be guilty of negligence, the Care Inspectorate may issue an improvement notice demanding the care home addresses the problem.

When a care home is deemed to be unsafe the Care Inspectorate can apply to the court to have the care home’s licence suspended. The effect of a care home’s licence being suspended results in the closure of that home. Closure causes considerable disruption to residents who have to find, often at short notice, new accommodation.

In the last year, two facilities in Scotland – Greenlaw Grove care home in Newton Mearns, Glasgow, and Muirhead care home in Alford were ordered to close by the court.

Some of the allegations made against Muirhead care home were very serious indeed, and included the unlawful restraint of residents and reported food shortages at the home.

Recently, a worker was even charged with assault for their unacceptable treatment of a resident living in the Muirhead care home.

In September 2017 the Care Inspectorate issued an improvement notice to Greenlaw Grove care home listing six areas which required urgent improvement, including the way medicine is kept and administered; staff numbers, training and registration; maintaining the hygiene, health and wellbeing of residents; and resident’s care plans.

The court ordered the suspension of Greenlaw Grove care home’s licence on 21st March 2018 resulting in its closure.

What Can Be Done?

We have been contacted by the family members of care residents who are concerned about the effect of a closure of a care home on their loved one or where they have had to endure sub-standard care asking us what can be done.

When a care home closes following a court order, residents and their relatives, have to make alternative arrangements at very short notice. This will inevitably result in distress to and often has an adverse effect on a resident’s health.

Residents may be unable to find suitable accommodation in the short term resulting in multiple moves which can aggravate an already difficult situation.

Claims can seek compensation for pain and suffering and for a refund, or partial refund, of fees.

Relatives of residents can claim on behalf of a resident under a power of attorney or where the resident is subject of a guardianship order. Residents can instruct a claim on their own behalf.

The unethical levels of service being provided in facilities like Greenlaw Grove care home and Muirhead care home are unacceptable. We can advise both residents and relatives on potential care home claims. We may be able to offer advice and recover damages on a no win-no fee basis.

Oracle Law has a wide experience with health and social care law. John Carruthers was, for many years, a registered nurse and retains an active professional interest in the subject. Please contact us for advice by calling 0141 404 1091 or emailing jc@oraclelaw.com.

 

 

 

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