How To Make Sure Your Vulnerable Loved Ones Are Safe In Care
It can be a worrying time when our loved ones enter the care system, whether it is because of physical or mental ill health. Families need to know that they are safe and well cared for. It is an area that I am passionate about because as well as having family members myself in the care system, I am frequently asked to help families whose loved ones have suffered injury due to lack of care or treatment.
An unfortunate common occurrence is accidental falls. If your family member has a history of falls or has entered the care system because of a fall then it is imperative that the care provider carries out a falls risk assessment. The assessment should document the falls history and assess the possibility/risk of future falls. The care provider should then put in place measures to reduce the chance of falls, for example, they should only mobilise with the assistance of two carers or that guards should be placed on their bed to prevent them trying to get up on their own during the night when they are probably at their most confused and disorientated.
Care homes should also retain well kept records and document care throughout the day, in particular noting any falls or problems. Family members will usually be notified of any incidents by telephone. The information given may be limited, which can be very frustrating for the family who want to understand what has happened and why, and most importantly that their loved one is safe and well. Any incidents should be fully documented in the care records and a request can be made to view the records which may provide more information and indeed the bigger picture. This is particularly relevant if your family member has the onset of dementia bearing in mind they may be unable to recall the details of the fall and are likely to be confused by what has happened, especially if they have been admitted to hospital as the change of environment is likely to have heightened their confusion.
Following a fall, the care provider’s risk assessment should be reviewed to consider whether the current measures are adequate to guard against future falls and record additional measures put in place. Falls should not happen. They are avoidable.
I have also helped families whose loved ones have developed pressure sores (also known as bed sores). It is very sad to see these injuries, as they are usually preventable with the correct care and treatment. A tissue viability assessment should be carried out to determine whether or not your loved one is at risk of pressure sores. They should then put in place measures to reduce the risk of pressure sores developing. For example, an air flow mattress should be provided and they should be regularly moved and turned to change position, thereby limiting constant pressure on one particular area. Common areas of concern include the heels and buttock. If pressure sores develop, they should be assessed and graded by a specialist nurse who can then prescribe the appropriate treatment. Pressure sores should not get worse if they are being treated correctly.
I am currently acting on behalf of families, pursuing personal injury claims against a number of care homes in the local area, including Hadrian’s Park, Rosedale Centre, and Cedar Lodge.