Elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease died when agency failed to provide night care
An elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease died following a fall from bed when an agency night carer failed to attend his home. A Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigation found service failings by the nursing agency and made recommendations to ensure that these were not repeated.
For several months Mr Robert Adamson had been receiving essential night care at his home from Chester-based nursing agency, Jane Lewis. Robert, who was in his early eighties, was unable to get out of bed without assistance or look after himself. The night carer’s role was to keep him safe and comfortable and provide respite for the family.
On the night of the incident, the carer did not arrive at the usual time. The family made calls to the agency and were assured that a carer would come that evening. Robert’s wife went to bed on the understanding that her husband would receive the support and assistance he needed during the night.
The following morning Robert’s daughter, Rachel, found her father dead on the floor beside his bed. When the family complained, the agency did not appear to appreciate the level of distress caused and disagreed with the family about what had happened.
Unsatisfied with the agency’s response, Rachel complained to the Ombudsman. The subsequent investigation identified that the agency’s poor communication and administrative errors left Robert without a carer on the night he died. Robert’s family received an apology from the agency, a payment that acknowledged the emotional impact and distress caused as a result of the service failings and the agency took steps to ensure that errors were not repeated.
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Rob Behrens, yesterday said:
‘This case illustrates the significant impact on families when failings occur and the benefit of bringing unresolved complaints to the Ombudsman.
While we recognise health care staff are under significant pressure and applaud the fantastic job they do, communication and reliability are key elements of their work and, when things go wrong, it is vital that this is recognised and steps are made to improve services.’
Mr Robert Adamson’s daughter, Ms Rachel Adamson yesterday said:
‘Night care enabled my father to continue to live safely at home with my mother. His death in the absence of a carer demonstrates how essential that support was.
Our complaint to the Ombudsman led to the agency acknowledging its mistakes and apologising. Our family’s loss has helped ensure that the same thing does not happen again and others do not experience the distress that we did.’
Contact Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman press office:
firstname.lastname@example.orgOpens email client | 0300 061 4639 | 07387 414 844
Out of office hours | email@example.comOpens email client | 0300 061 4444
Note to editors:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman provides an independent and impartial complaint handling service for complaints that have not been resolved by the NHS in England and UK government departments. We look into complaints where someone believes there has been injustice or hardship because an organisation has not acted properly or has given a poor service and not put things right. We share findings from our casework to help Parliament scrutinise public service providers and to help drive improvements in public services and complaint handling.
Latest News from
Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill laid in Parliament05/12/2016 12:37:21
A new complaints body will provide the public with greater confidence that their voices have been heard.
East Riding council did not do enough to protect toddler from harm08/02/2019 09:15:00
A toddler was left with life-long injuries after East Riding of Yorkshire Council missed opportunities to protect him from his mother’s violent partner, a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation has found.
Councils urged to check their parking policies following Ombudsman investigation01/02/2019 12:15:00
Councils across England are being urged to ensure they are using the correct legislation to issue parking fines at country parks following a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation into Kent County Council.
Ombudsman responds to Committee report on ethical standards31/01/2019 09:15:00
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has welcomed the Committee on Standards in Public Life's report on Local Government Ethical Standards.
Barnet council fails to follow up on community centre noise complaint25/01/2019 09:15:00
Barnet council has been told to carry out more monitoring of excessive noise at a community centre in the borough following a second investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
Norfolk council failed two boys with Special Educational Needs17/01/2019 09:15:00
Norfolk County Council’s provision for children with special educational needs (SEN) has been criticised in two separate investigations after the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman revealed it had already upheld nine similar complaints.
Ombudsman welcomes National Audit Office report15/01/2019 16:25:00
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has today welcomed the National Audit Office's (NAO) report on local authority governance.
Carers leave woman in pain after burns not detected soon enough10/01/2019 09:15:00
A vulnerable Blackpool woman was left “screaming in pain” with serious burns on her leg after carers left her too close to a hot radiator, a Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation has found.