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To want to be informed by the nursing home when my senile mother is missing

(33 Posts)
larahusky Fri 03-May-13 17:11:35

My 83 year old mother has suffered from vascular dementia for a number of years and with much worry I took care of her at home. Two years' ago she had a stroke which robbed her of much cognitive function and so I was advised that the only option was to put her in specialist residential care.

I am the closest person to my mother and also have all forms of power of attorney. I have had to battle with the nursing home to be informed of any changes to her medical care. Eventually I thought the situation was getting better: the home got taken over, a far more modern thinking duty manager was appointed, I got my Mum put on more suitable drugs so that she wasn't falling over all the time and she is as settled as I think she will ever be in a secure environment.

At the beginning I was visiting everyday and it was taking a large toll on my mental health. I am bipolar and going to visit such a sad place and not getting the space to forget my mother's condition was putting a strain on me.

Everyone advised to lower my visits at least to every other day because I also have young children and the pressure of so much caring was too much.

This is the first week I have cut down and today, when I went to visit my mother another relative told me that she had found my mother wandering in the centre of town two weeks' ago and brought her home. She said the staff were very grateful and said they would let me know. Nobody did.

I felt so shocked when I found out. Not because they had allowed my mother to escape. I realise mistakes happen; but because I was completely disregarded in the situation. After I had taken my mother out I spoke to the manager.

He was very nice and apologetic but completely blamed it on a care assistant who was in charge of my mother, had put her attention elsewhere and had let my mother go.

He said he told the woman to fill in an Incident Report and contact me to explain. He said he would speak to her after the weekend and that he didn't blame me if I made a formal complaint.

It really is the fact that no one let me know. Frome the moment she had her stroke, I have felt like my control in her care has diminished, and yet I am the person she allocated to be in charge of her welfare.

I don't know whether to make a complaint. I am actually surprised by the force of my reaction. I think it is the thought that a major incident occurred - they were about to call the police - and yet I was not contacted.

I see have a 6 year old and a 9 year old and if that sort of incident had happened in a school day and I had not been told, all hell would have broken loose (or whatever the phrase is). And yet even my 6 year old is more equipped to deal with the outside world alone than my mother.

Sorry, this is so long. Just wondered what other people thought I should do next, and AIBU to be so devastated. My reaction has completely taken me by surprise!

larahusky Fri 03-May-13 17:13:31

PS I have seen the care assistant several time in the last couple of weeks and she has spoken to me in a very relaxed fashion.

BookFairy Fri 03-May-13 17:17:55

YANBU. Very stressful for you. My grandma has dementia and is in a home. If she went missing without us being informed we would be furious. I would look on the website of the company who owns the home and write a letter of concern.

Signet2012 Fri 03-May-13 17:19:24

I would complain. I would also ask for a meeting with duty manager and social worker and yourself to relay your concerns.
I'm assuming your mother does not have capacity to manage outside and that's a serious safe guarding issue that she randomly got out.

Did they inform ss? Cqc? Where I work that would be considered a "significant event" and require reporting to the authorities.

What have they put in place to prevent it from occurring again?

Cravingdairy Fri 03-May-13 17:19:36

I think you should report this to whichever body regulates the residential care of the elderly in your area. The manager should have ensured the proper follow up was done and didn't. There are safeguarding issues here which need to be fixed for the safety of all the residents.

Sorry you are having such a rough time. flowers

magimedi Fri 03-May-13 17:25:35

YANBU at all. My mother (who had dementia) walked out of the care home in her first week there & walked back to her house (about 5 miles). I was 300 miles away & was rung straight away & kept up to speed till she was located. There was a big review of procedures after this. This was some 20+ years ago.

I would report this to the regulating body as Craving has said.

flowers for you, it is such a hard thing to be going through.

larahusky Fri 03-May-13 18:06:09

Thanks. This is not the first time either. She had an open wound on her head from a fall and I was left to find out for myself by finding her hands bloody from touching it. Again, I saw the nurse and she spoke to me when I came in but did not mention it.

They have put her on major and minor tranquillisers without telling me.

She had a necklace stolen from her and nothing was done other than me being made to feel like an idiot for letting her wear something valuable in a dementia unit.

It is all hard enough and I hate having to get worked up and worried about her care.

Who is the body I complain to?

larahusky Fri 03-May-13 18:40:12

And, yes, my mother is totally unsafe on her own which is why she was judged and needing specialist residential care. She can't judge traffic, she doesn't know what time of day it is, where she lives, who she is! And she is very unstable on her feet and has a lot of falls as well.

she is self-funding and pays £3000 a month for this facility (not that it makes any difference) except that I know what a huge amount it is.

Signet2012 Fri 03-May-13 19:51:04

If you contact your mothers social worker or if she hasn't got one request one she will be able to advise you on other suitable care facilities.

I wouldn't want my mum to stay in this environment. Sorry you're having to deal with this

JerseySpud Fri 03-May-13 19:58:08

I would complain hun. I worked as a care assistant for several years as agency and as home staff and something like that is a serious problem. flowers to you

ghosteditor Fri 03-May-13 19:58:41

YANBU - complain formally as they need procedures to prevent it happening again and protocol if it does happen.

Casserole Fri 03-May-13 21:04:15

I would be putting formal written complaints into every body I could think of. COMPLETELY unacceptable. And if there is a social worker I would be demanding a review of her care and probably requesting a transfer.

So sorry. For her and you sad

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LowLevelWhinging Fri 03-May-13 21:10:09

yes yes, please complain. Contact SS and as Signet says, consider other options with a social worker. This is not ok.

LowLevelWhinging Fri 03-May-13 21:10:51


Fleecyslippers Fri 03-May-13 21:24:22

The first step in a complaints procedure would be to address it directly to the manager again. he will then inform you of the complaints procedure and how to 'escalate' it.
It's absolutely shocking that you were not informed and the care assistant needs to be made aware that she has made a major error in the care and management of a vulnerbale person.

larahusky Fri 03-May-13 22:03:05

Thanks very much. I just find it amazing the difference in what is considered acceptable care for my children and my mother.

A couple of years' ago, my mother was in hospital after her stroke and my daughter had to visit A&E following a dog bite. My daughter was treated with amazing consideration and sweetness. Even the anaesthetist sung to her and everyone was just lovely. At the same time, I felt like my mother was just being treated like a lump of meat. I was very grateful for the way my daughter was treated, it is just that something needs to change (and I hope is changing) in the way the elderly are treated.

My mother always said that she wanted to be shot rather than end up in a home with no dignity. But since that is hardly an option, I just want her to have the best level of care in her vulnerable state!

I am going to make a complaint and follow it through. I am obviously a helicopter daughter...

LowLevelWhinging Fri 03-May-13 22:12:39

lara, i really agree. I work in social care and children are just so much more valued than older people aren't they? It's like people don't recognise the connection between a young person...that becomes an older person...

good for you, do your helicoptering for your mum.

Shlurpbop Fri 03-May-13 22:14:45

You are not a helicopter daughter, you are a caring concerned daughter. And you have every right to be.

I visit many care homes as part of my job. In my role I get to see what many paying family members do not - i wander in, do my job and the staff treat me as part of the furniture and there are no 'special measures' or 'fronts' put on while I am there.

Some of the homes are quite eye opening and I worry for my recently-diagnosed-with-dementia father, should the need for a home ever arise.

larahusky Fri 03-May-13 22:41:22

Thanks, you have all made me feel much better.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 03-May-13 23:06:30

YANBU. It sounds very distressing for you. You sound like a great daughter.

You should complain because things are unlikely to change if people don't speak up.

I appreciate this isn't about the money and people should be treated properly whatever the fee....But your mum is paying them a lot of money, they should ensure they are delivering value for the money she pays them.

Good luck and hope things improve.

hobnobsaremyfave Fri 03-May-13 23:36:17

Contact the POVA (Protection of vulnerable adult) team at your local authority. This really is a safeguarding issue.

Newt Tue 25-Jun-13 21:31:34

Is there a site that reviews care homes honesty? My father-in-law is in one and we are also unhappy with the level of care. Considering these homes are so pricey per week, there must be some review site? We generally all look at review sites for other pricey items - phones, holiday firms etc. Please advise!

McNewPants2013 Tue 25-Jun-13 22:24:57

I would start looking at other homes, failing to notice a resident has gone missing and a head injury left untreated is shocking.

As she is self funded it wouldn't be an issue to move her.

WhirlyByrd Tue 25-Jun-13 22:37:26

You may not like this suggestion but have you thought about getting a GPS tracker? I've seen them advertised for vunerable people and it may give you some peace of mind that she could be found immediately if it happened again, especially while you look into things and decide what to do. DS has asd and when he was younger and ran off all the time we seriously considered getting it for him.

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