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Deal care home failed mum twice before she died

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Original article from Kent Live

A care home in Deal is in trouble again after a family made a second complaint after their mother died.

Sonia Lodge, in Walmer, Deal, rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), was found to have mistreated an elderly resident with advanced dementia by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Now the care provider, Foxley Lodge LTD, who owns the home, has been issued with an Adverse Findings Notice (AFN) for an unprecedented second time- the only care home to ever have been handed two.

In 2019, the elderly resident was told by the care provider her fees would be going up by 25% where she lived at Sonia Lodge.

When the family told the home they could only afford a 5% pay rise, as stated in their contract, the woman was threatened with eviction.

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After stepping in to investigate the complaint made by the family, the Ombudsman found the care provider failed to review their complaints procedure as required by the investigation, and issued the first AFN.

The second AFN was dished out when the home took action against the woman and gave her notice to leave, stating they could no longer meet her needs, without consulting health care professionals and contrary to its own contract.

The woman, who by then was suffering with advanced dementia, died before she had to move.

Her son suffered significant stress trying to find a new home for his mum at short notice and wishes not to talk to the media.

Foxley Lodge LTD refused to comment.

After the second investigation the Ombudsman ruled the care home did not investigate the family’s complaints properly, respond to them in writing, or refer them to the Ombudsman at the end of it’s complaints process.

The Ombudsman recommended the care home apologise to the family and review it’s complaints processes again.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “It is disappointing to say the least.

“This care provider has failed to respect our role-agreed by parliament- of investigating in a fair and independent way, which has given it the dubious distinction of the first ever to receive a second critical notice.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Michael King

“I cannot tell the extent to which this behaviour might cast doubt in the eyes of the current or future service users, about how fairly they would be treated if they were unfortunate enough to experience an issue with their care.

“But anyone considering care for themselves, or a loved one, will have to ask themselves whether an organisation showing this level of disdain for its ombudsman is still one they can put their faith in.”

In the past 10 years since the Ombudsman was given the power to investigate independent adult care providers, it has investigated more than 1,300 complaints, and issued just 10 AFNs, including the first against Foxley Lodge ltd.

Who are the Ombudsman?

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman looks at individual complaints about adult social care services in England, regardless of whether that care is paid for or arranged by a local authority or privately.

Where it finds fault that has caused injustice, the ombudsman makes recommendations to put things right for the individual, as well as recommendations to improve services for everyone.

An Adverse Findings Notice is published in the very rare cases where the ombudsman is not satisfied an independent care provider has carried out its recommendations.

The Ombudsman is sharing its findings with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulator for health and social care who is responsible for registering care providers and taking enforcement where appropriate, and will discuss any potential next steps.

It is also informing councils in the area, who may consider commissioning care services, of the case.

Original Article