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Staffs home refuses to refund care costs following Ombudsman investigation

A Staffordshire care provider has refused to refund a man’s estate after the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found it put too restrictive care in place for the last nine months of his life.

The man, who had dementia, attempted to take his own life while living in the Barrowhill Hall Care Home in Rocester, run by MOP Healthcare Ltd. Consequently, the care home put in place one-to-one care for 24 hours a day.

This cost the family an extra £2,520 a week. The family complained that the man did not need this level of care, particularly when his dementia progressed, and it was draining the man’s resources. They said as result, he had paid more than £100,000 for this care on top of his normal fees.

An Ombudsman investigation found MOP Healthcare Ltd did not properly assess the man’s mental capacity after he attempted to take his life, and failed to progress a legal document called a ‘Deprivation of Liberty safeguard’ properly.

The company did not consider other less-restrictive options for his care, despite his social worker and a community psychiatric nurse advising he could be kept safe with less limiting measures in place.

The Ombudsman asked MOP Healthcare Ltd to pay the family £1,000 for the distress of having to bring the complaint and review its staff training and how it tracks Deprivation of Liberty safeguards applications to its local council, to ensure similar faults do not happen again. The provider has agreed to these recommendations.

However, the Ombudsman also asked the provider to consider the lower cost had it accepted professionals’ recommendations to reduce the level of care and pay the man’s estate the difference. It has not agreed to carry out this recommendation.

Ms Amerdeep Somal, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:

“The provider has told us it will not pay the financial recommendation we have made because it says the family could have moved the man from his home at any time.

“I am not satisfied with this provider’s response. It shows no regard for the distress faced by the family witnessing their relative under constant supervision for the last nine months of his life, to the extent this was not lifted even when he was receiving end of life care.

“I will be sharing our findings with the care regulator, the Care Quality Commission.”

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