WHERE IS THE CARE of the Elderly / Vulnerable?

Our knowledge of abuse and neglect, indifference and inefficiency began in 2009 when my 90 year old mother fell and was admitted to hospital. The stay was distressing and upsetting with insensitive staff, seemingly no continuity of staffing and difficult to get information on what was going.

Discharged to an inappropriate care setting by Adult Social Care, with lack of, and incorrect information given to us as a family, my mother fell twice sustained a brain haemorrhage undiagnosed until we moved her to a home near to us, so I could be there every day. Here observing conditions that were unacceptable.

With attempts to try and shut me out of mother’s care by all concerned, I was treated as if I was of no consequence and not listened to when I voiced concerns. We moved her to a good reputation care home. During this stressful time the only way to protect mum was to try and develop a working relationship with staff. My mother deteriorated. I voiced concerns, asked questions, but began leaving every day with a very heavy heart and worried.

The GP said incorrectly this is what is to be expected from mum’s condition, fearing the worse we took her to the seaside for a few days – and discovered a pressure sore on her heel and skin on the verge of breaking down on her backside.

We educated ourselves on pressure care, my intuition proved right. We experienced apathy and hostility to complaints being raised and closing of ranks when we questioned the care and had to fight to get the care mum needed through Adult Social Care. Everyone was acting unconcerned.

Fighting for competent care and nursing care, obstacles were put in our way as we questioned poor care. Moving to nursing care, demanded the correct treatment for her wounds, questioning everything, present at every dressing change etc. It was a surreal environment where we, the family, were treated as an interference.

Two nursing homes later, and a rehabilitation/assessment ward of a local community hospital, it was a battle to be listened to in a system failing our elderly folks. Information kept from us, decisions made behind our backs, all against my mother’s express wishes. We were lied to and alienated.

The stress took a huge toll on us, our confidence in the care system shattered. We took mum home to our home after receiving the assistance of advocates, elderly care expert and solicitor and looked after her 24/7.

• She developed an appetite
• Put on weight
• Her skin took on a healthy sheen
• She started to think again, watch TV, play her word puzzles
• She was able to come off of unnecessary drugs
• Her continence improved
• Her pressure sores totally healed.

We lost mum two and half years ago and have been pursuing Central Essex Community Services, Adult Social Care and Mid Essex Health Trust and have admission of poor care and failures. We still have no admission from the care home.

Pursuing the authorities about the frightening gaps in the system, we devised an information system that may be adopted by Mid Essex Health Trust to address the gaps and empower families with knowledge.

Planning to try and harness the power of the public voice in Essex, and highlight what is happening in our area, we will launch our website soon, WhereIsTheCare.co.uk to take your live and lived experience stories – and provide information/signposting. Working with authorities to highlight areas that need change, putting pressure on them to do so, especially through Healthwatch Essex.

Our experience, our complaining, is going to lead to some positive change. Please complain. Please give us your story, experience, comment now direct to our webpage! You can email us on help@whereisthecare.co.uk.

Together we can make a difference.