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I think we're buggered, any legal brains out there? (nursing home related & LONG)

(8 Posts)
Whatwillwedo Fri 07-Oct-11 04:24:14

My dh took over as manager of a nursing home in may(never managed a home before, but has been a hospital manager). He took the job on the condition that he had good orientation and support, which he was promised. In reality he spent a day in another home in the company and had a further 2hours supervision.

It was clear that it was a home with problems I.e. Poor staff, lots of medication errors etc, which he set about trying to resolve. It had a company 'red' alert status, but dh got it to Amber within a month and also interviewed lots of staff, trained and untrained. The admin staff however (they had appointed the receptionist as business manager shortly before dh started), have not been efficient in getting the necessary paperwork done. Some of the new staff gave up in the end and took different jobs.

My dh began having to do nursing shifts, as the company refuse to employ agency nurses, which made it nigh on impossible to do any management duties.

During all of this, the home had an external inspection by the CQC, who found that there were problems, but none serious, though needing urgent attention. They did say they could see progress was being made.

There were then a few safeguarding incidents, mainly to do with medication not being given or in stock, though one incident was a nurse who made several drug errors. She resigned before dh could discipline her. The PCT became involved and put an embargo on admissions (dh had already closed to admissions due to high staff sickness rates).

The PCT wanted instant action, which got the attention of the the senior managers who have pretended to do something about the situation, though when the PCT told them to use agency staff to allow my dh to get back to management they still refused!

After discussion with me, dh decided to request a demotion to deputy as it was clear that it was too big a job for him, without adequate support. He stepped down a few weeks ago. In the meantime the PCT remain unhappy with the interim management at the home.

Fast forward to this week, and dh was taken to the police station, questioned and then bailed with issues surrounding patient cruelty, because he didn't do more re the problems at the home (there is no suggestion that dh has acted improperly and no resident has ever been Ill treated).

He has now been suspended on full pay, and bailed to return in mid-November. If this is upheld he will never work again. Thankfully I work, and can support us if we sell the house.

This just doesn't seem fair, I think he is being made a scapegoat in all of this.

I would love any words of wisdom, we are so worried! He will be speaking to his union in the morning, but if anyone knows where else we should go for advice I'd be so grateful.

Thanks (sorry, war and peace is shorter!)

Missingfriendsandsad Fri 07-Oct-11 04:47:09

I think scapegoating is certainly happening - what godawful muppets we let get to the 'top'. Senior management should be concerned though, because by involving the police statements your DH makes about their lack of grasp of the situation and their ignoring the PCT recommendations and failing in their duties to provide support and training will be recorded as evidence.

The issue over the drug errors was picked up by your husband? If so that is a sign that he was getting control of the situation and addressing concerns that were not explained to him when he started the role, presumably by tightening up reporting and management .

As its xxxxxx, they are under a hell of a lot of pressure and focus at the moment (used as examples on the today programme) so your DH will be a temporary casualty of flailing and incompetent senior staff trying to be seen to be doing something.

I am no expert, but from what you say it sounds like if he is confident, talks about the poor situation that he found and started tackling, mentions that senior staff failed to follow his recommendations and that he not only set in place procedures that revealed and dealt with poor functioning (perhaps he should also say that he was aware it was the tip of a very big iceberg but he dealt with issues where patients were at risk first), but was also getting hands-on using his nursing experience to get a better understanding of the pressures and concerns of his staff and patients first hand, this can be very easily become a positive experience and explanation.

Although it feels awful now, formal investigation may be better than finger pointing and stigma- he had a management role, was prepared to participate and help with investigations designed to improve patient care and that should help improve the way the PCT deals with these situations, and is professional enough to be honest about the concerns and size of the problem he had to deal with. If standing down is painted as 'giving up' I would suggest that he was aware that senior management were moving their focus away from the home because he was in post and he felt it was the only way to re focus their attention on what he thought was a really serious problem (perhaps combined with 'taking the management view and the fact that management recommendations were being ignored in any case, he felt that this was effectively an 'all hands to the pumps' situation, and that his skills were better used in a direct and activist role until the emergency was over - managing where resources are targeted when resources are fewer than needed is a high level management skill)...

Good luck and stick with him throughout all the agonising and stress about how he feels, it will be a difficult period, but survivable..

Whatwillwedo Fri 07-Oct-11 05:15:59

Thanks missing friends, I'll definitely stand by with him and at the end of the day people survive much worse. He is just worried that if they charge him he'll end up in the news, which will affect the childrensad

Yes, he discovered there were ongoing issues with medication. He tasked one of his heads of care with auditing and reporting any errors(turns out she was isn't very effective. He also sent all of the trained staff on medication update courses and trained up the caters to be second checkers on drug rounds. He also had boots come in to do an audit, though the pharmacist said that any recommendations that had been made in the past hadn't been implemented.

Care planning was also appalling, but again he was trying to make headway with this but it was a case of "Rome wasn't built in a day". Apparently my dh is the 5th manager in the 2 yrs the home has been open, so it's clear that there is a history of poor leadership. Whether the powers that be see it this way is another matter.

I am really grateful for your help, your phrasing is great and will be helpful for writing up his own statement of events.

sneezecakesmum Fri 07-Oct-11 17:06:10

If his union is the RCN they are usually pretty good at providing legal representation. I only had recourse to them once and they wiped the floor with the complainant!

Your DH must get as much evidence as possible as to his actions, start making notes about what, why, where, when, how and who asap while these incidents and times are fresh in his memory. Is he allowed back into the building? If possible he should photocopy all documentation so that he has the answers to any police questioning.

I think he will be exonerated in the end but this is a dreadful situation for you.

forkful Fri 07-Oct-11 17:12:51

OP - you need to ask MNHQ to edit your post to remove the company name. Just hit report post and they will do it.

<sorry don't have any useful info other than you need to protect your case and not disclose company name here>

Whatwillwedo Fri 07-Oct-11 21:27:28

Thanks for all of your kind words, I just can't believe any of this is happening

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Oct-11 21:34:37

Hi there
Company name now gone
Best of luck OP

purplewerepidj Fri 07-Oct-11 21:47:59

He needs to make sure his actions were recorded in writing - so, the HoC that was tasked with auditing should have it in her supervision notes that she was specifically asked to perform this task, and when it should be completed by/reviewed. If you can't get hold of copies, trace dates and times of meetings so that the police can access the information.

Any drafts of new policies etc that he has will be evidence. Word (I think) tracks save times and when a document is opened etc, the police will be able to find the info - you may have to surrender home computers for analysis if he's worked on them.

Definitely get the identifying information taken out of your post. I'm not going to, but I could probably find out your DH's name and phone number from your info - my manager's name etc are on our company's website (i work in the same industry, and have heard of the difficulties your DH's company are having) and it wouldn't be hard for someone with a bit of computer knowhow. Especially a journo...

Good luck to you and your DH. Care workers on the whole are a good bunch. The owners of the companies are just business people and don't play by our rules smile

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