Shocking allegations are made against Lancashire care home

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A broken nose, bruised face and being barricaded into his room by a carer – what a 61-year-old dementia patient suffered in a county care home, his family claims.

A relative of the Leyland man has today spoken out about the lack of care, respect and dignity they say he has received at The Lodge, in Oakbridge Road, Buckshaw Village, near Chorley.

It comes after two members of staff were suspended and, seperately, the home subject to a damning report by the health watchdog.

Today a family member, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the family feels “let down”. The serious allegations relate to:

• Unexplained marks and bruises on his face and arms

• Unwitnessed seizures resulting in hospital admission

• Suspected broken nose as a result of the unwitnessed seizure

• Being barricaded into a room by a carer

• Being restrained in a chair by carer

• A suspected broken toe not seen by staff

• Poor attitude and inappropriate remarks from staff

It comes as two members of staff have been suspended and, seperately, the home has been subject to a damning report from the health watchdog.

Today bosses at the care home said they acknowledge some concerns have taken a long time to resolve and admit they have a long way to go to “rebuild their trust.”

The man suffers from a form of dementia called Pick’s Disease, he can’t communicate and has been described as being “as vulnerable as a two-year-old.”

The relative claims there has been issues over care, respect and dignity since 2012 and they have “lost count” of the number of meetings they have had with bosses at home.

But they say the issues have “escalated” in the last six months and they “are not getting proper answers”.

Claims also include the man’s medication being changed without his family being notified, a lack of respect and unprofessional behaviour from staff and concerns about his nutrition.

In one shocking incident the man had a seizure which resulted in him being admitted to hospital with cuts and bruises all over his face and a suspected broken nose.

On another occasion the family witnessed the man being barricaded into a store room in the home – when they returned the next day the room had been transformed into a lounge area.

There has also been other unexplained marks on the man’s body – the family member says the lack of answers makes them feel something is being covered up.

They admit the man’s condition and his complex needs can make him difficult to manage.

The family member said: “It hurts me very much. I feel let down. We want to be listened to and sometimes we are not, it doesn’t go in. We have these meetings, we all know you should talk with family and carers and it happens but it doesn’t have the effect it should have.

“We are not criticising all staff. There are some really good staff, but there’s only a few of them and they are not always there.

“The people suspended are having their say and saying what’s happened. Everyone is talking and the main person can’t talk. He can’t say what is happening.”

The relative says they feel “hurt and angry” over the treatment of the man and say despite numerous meetings the family is not being heard.

They added: “We come away sometimes and think ‘what’s going to happen next?’

“All I want is to be reassured that the staff they get will be good and to be reassured I am leaving him in a nice, safe place. We just want him to have an okay quality of life.

“I wish I had never set eyes on it – some of the issues we are raising we raised a couple of years ago, we are still in the same boat.”

The care home has recently been inspected by the Care Quality Commission.

Inspectors failed the home in two of the assessment categories saying it didn’t meet standards in ‘safeguarding people who use services from abuse’ and ‘assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision’.

The report in to the home has been published recently, following the inspection in February.

• Coming soon in your Lancashire Evening Post, a special investigation into Lancashire’s care homes.

Today in a statement the HICA Group, which runs the home, said: “We have been working with the immediate family to resolve their concerns and begin a more positive joint working and support approach.

“The family is incredibly dignified and clearly the events of the past have taken their toll on the family as a whole and for that we are deeply saddened.

“In meeting on frequent occasions with the family we have explored their concerns and we have responded to these and taken actions as appropriate, we do acknowledge that some of these concerns have taken longer to resolve.

“The family, although very frustrated with areas of the support, also have made some positive comments to us and to CQC. They also have made compliments about members of staff. This aside we do know we have a long way to go to rebuild their trust in us and we are working hard to ensure we gain their trust and respect.

“The Lodge is a specialist support service for people with Dementia and many have significant complex support needs. For some people they are at a stage in the progression of their dementia which can lead to a presentation of complex and challenging behaviours. As a result this can cause injury to individuals whether self-injury or impact on others. The staff team are trained in empathetic support techniques to de-escalate such situations but unfortunately incidents can still impact on people.”

The statement added: “We have a good staffing support structure with a high level of staffing support for residents, but residents do not immediately have permanent 1:1, the staffing levels for 1:1 are determined by the care assessments carried out in collaboration with our colleagues in the CCG and Local Authority. Subsequently they will be occasions where we haven’t fully witnessed a seizure for example. We have technology in place for night time to monitor seizures and people’s movements during the night for safety reasons and these play a positive role in reducing the risks of non-witnessed injury.

“When incidents have occurred these are reported and investigated as per safeguarding protocols with a multi-agency approach.

In relation to the concerns about the suspensions of two staff members, we took action to suspend to ensure a thorough and independent investigation on the concerns raised though our whistleblowing processes. We have undertaken the investigation alongside safeguarding and the CCG and in liaison with CQC. We took the concerns raised incredibly seriously and acted immediately to safeguard the people we support. Unfortunately we did make an error in reporting this fully and this lead to a delay in completing the investigation. This has now been investigated and we are working through our internal disciplinary processes –so at this stage we do not have an outcome.”