Ombudsman issues adverse findings notice against operator

Amerdeep Somal

An operator has been issued with an adverse findings notice after it refused to refund a family despite an ombudsman investigation finding serious issues with the care provided.

Farrington Care Ltd, the owners of Lyme Regis Nursing Home in Dorset, refused to refund the cost of care the family paid for the seven weeks their relative was a client.

The male resident, who had diabetes and other medical conditions, moved into the home, which cost £1,200 a week, in April 2022. Within a week he had been hospitalised because of issues relating to his diabetes through lack of blood sugar monitoring.

A safeguarding alert was raised by ambulance staff. The family visited the man but became concerned about his appearance and decline in health. They noted he had not eaten his food or been able to access water and had been left in the same position for hours. They also noted care records had been falsified, and a care worker was dismissed after they complained.

The man died at the end of May 2022 and the family asked the council to carry out a safeguarding investigation, which found failings in the man’s care, amounting to ‘evidential acts of neglect’ and omissions in his care. This included poor oral care, diabetes management, pain records and medication management. The council made more than a dozen recommendations to improve the home.

The family received an apology from the home but asked to be reimbursed for what they paid because of the poor care. It refunded part of a deposit paid, having deducted fees for a notice period.

The family contacted the home but said they were laughed at by staff when they asked to speak to the complaints department.

They then asked the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to investigate. It was recommended by the ombudsman the provider refund the man’s estate all fees paid for the seven weeks the man lived in the home, plus a further two weeks’ notice period. It was also asked to pay a further £350 in recognition of the distress and uncertainty caused.

Farrington Care refused and that has resulted in the ombudsman using an adverse findings notice against the provider.

‘The poor care provided to the man caused him unnecessary pain and suffering, and his family significant distress. I reject the provider’s suggestion that putting things right for this family would negatively impact the high standards of care it provides for residents. It now needs to do the decent thing and carry out our recommendations and reimburse the man’s estate,’ said Amerdeep Somal, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

‘The way an organisation responds to complaints says a lot about the internal culture of that organisation, and, while it has provided some of the remedies that have been recommended, I am concerned its response to our investigation suggests it has not fully grasped the gravity of what happened to this family and is open and able to learn from what has gone wrong.’

Farrington Care has been contacted for comment.