It’s important to be able to place your trust in the professional carers involved in your loved one’s care because only with the right care will your relative receive a good quality of life in their later years.
Where the level of service falls below what it should be, your family member could be harmed physically, emotionally, or both. So, how do you make sure your loved one is being properly cared for?
Well, first and foremost, it’s important to make sure channels of communication are open between yourself and professional tag caregivers. Make sure carers have all of your contact details, and let them know you are there to answer any questions they may have. It’s a good idea to set up a regular day and time for a meeting or phone call to discuss any issues which may arise.
Also, look out for warning signs that your elderly relative is not receiving the care they should, particularly if they have trouble communicating for themselves. You may notice unexplained bruising or injuries, poor hygiene or weight loss, or a sudden change in their behaviour.
If talking to carers or their supervisors fails to reassure you, then you will want to take further action.
Making a complaint
The first step will be to contact the manager responsible for the care service your relative is receiving. They should, by law, have a formal complaints process, investigating and keeping records for every complaint. If your complaint is about the potential abuse of your loved one, then the care home should report the case to the police.
In some cases, you may decide you also want to make a claim for compensation, to ensure your family is recompensed for physical or psychological harm, and to make sure you have the means to provide for appropriate future care.
A quick call to a solicitor specialising in medical negligence to chat through the circumstances of your case will be all it takes to decide whether you could have a valid claim to make.
There are many different circumstances which could lead to a claim against a carer or care home. It may be that your loved one’s hygiene isn’t being properly taken care of, or perhaps they have tripped or fallen because they weren’t being properly supervised or helped. Another example could be that your relative suffers malnutrition because they aren’t being assisted with eating their meals or that they aren’t taking essential medication because of care failures.
Pressure sores are another common reason for making a claim. Where a patient can’t move themselves, carers and care homes staff have a duty of care to ensure sores do not develop through proper monitoring and movement.
Some of the worst cases of elderly abuse and neglect have led to prosecutions and high negligence payouts. In the UK, for example, five elderly residents at a care home died after being routinely given overdoses of medication and being left soiled and in pain over a two-year period. That case, and others like it, led the Health Secretary to promise to improve inspections of care homes.
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