Gavel, stethoscope and justice scalesAccording to a 2017 gov.uk report, there are about 11,300 care homes for the elderly in the UK. We believe the numbers would have increased by now as we have an ageing population.

The CQC (Care Quality Commission) regulates all care homes in England. Whether they are for-profit or voluntary organisations, NHS or local-health authorities, all care homes are regularly checked by CQC inspectors to ensure that standards are met. In other words, all care homes should provide a safe and comfortable environment for their residents.

As CQC can take actions against care homes that fail to reach expected standards, in theory, all care homes should offer the best levels of service to their residents and patients. But in reality, inadequate staff can fail the trust that you and your family put upon them. Negligence happens more often than we would like to think, resulting in residents or patients suffering serious injuries or even death. When neglect happens, residents and their family members can take action against the care home involved and claim compensation.

In this article, our professional medical negligence solicitors in South Yorkshire, North Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire explain how negligence can arise in care homes, how to spot the signs of care home negligence, what evidence to gather, how to make a claim, and what the compensation will cover.

What are common negligence claims in a care home?

Negligence in a care home can arise when the care given to its residents (often elderly and vulnerable) breaches the expected duty of care, leading to serious injuries, health issues or even death.

Common negligence in care home claims can include but not limited to:

  • Medical neglect, anything from dosage errors to failure to treat bedsores
  • Physical abuse
  • Mental or emotional abuse
  • Basic needs neglects including patient hygiene
  • Catheter mistakes
  • Failure to keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards
  • Lack of supervision

In cases involving physical and emotional abuse, the Crown Prosecution may step in to launch criminal charges against the perpetrators while residents (and their family members) may launch civil negligence proceedings against the company.

What are the signs of care home negligence?

When you suspect that your loved one or residents in a care home have been neglected either intentionally or unintentionally, the first step is to look for signs, which may include but not limited to:

  • Bedsores
  • Regular infections
  • Bruising, cuts, and/or broken bones
  • Lack of cleanliness
  • Unusual changes in mental health and behaviour
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Becoming reclusive
  • The presence of hazardous equipment or furniture

Gathering evidence to prove a care home negligence case

A few years ago, the BBC Panorama secretly filmed a nurse giving morphine to a resident “to shut her up” – the footage shocked the nation when aired. Since then, undercover reporters and family members have shared a string of abuse and neglect incidents from various care homes, anything from malnourished residents to patients left sitting for a day in wet and soiled incontinence pads.

They gathered the evidence through CCTV, hidden cameras, hidden voice recordings, medical records, social service documents, as well as eyewitness reports from other residents, visitors and staff.

The moment you notice that something is wrong and you believe negligence is present, start gathering evidence and also seek legal advice from one of our medical negligence solicitors.

How do you claim for care home negligence?

The resident or patient who suffers does not usually seek help due to several reasons. For instance, they may be afraid of the perpetrators, they may believe that neglect is normal, they are simply embarrassed, or their illnesses may prevent them from speaking out.

This means a large number of care home negligence cases are initiated by the family members instead. If you have a loved one who suffers in a care home, give us a call to discuss the case. In order to prove negligence, we will work with you to establish:

  • A duty of care exists between the resident and the defendant (the care home in this case)
  • A beach of that duty has occurred
  • The negligence has caused the resident to suffer

The wellbeing of your loved ones should also be the top priority. In theory, when you make a claim against the care home, your loved one should continue to live there without discrimination. But if the care home has breached the duty of care, it may not be safe for your loved one to continue living there. Most family members either transfer the resident to another care home immediately to avoid further harm or step in to provide care.

What will the compensation cover?

In cases of negligence in care homes, the most common compensation is money, which aims to rectify the harm done to the quality of life to the residents who have suffered unnecessarily.

Compensation helps to:

  • Pay for private medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation
  • Loss of earnings from family members who have to step in and provide care
  • Home care help
  • Other related expenses

Start your care home negligence compensation claim today

Once you start proceedings against the care home, a few things may happen. The ideal scenario is that the care home agrees with the claim and pays you the full compensation you have asked for. However, in most cases they will negotiate for a reduced amount.

Also, the care home may disagree with the claim. In this instance, we will discuss options like mediation and reaching an out-of-court settlement with you. If it goes to court, we will work relentlessly to represent you.

Our medical negligence solicitors are here to advise, represent and also negotiate on behalf of you. So take advantage of our FREE initial consultation today. The aim of the consultation is to discuss your case and thereby allowing us to provide an honest assessment of your chances of success.

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