A care home in Yorkshire has been criticised after staff were recorded verbally abusing and neglecting an elderly resident.
The Local Government Ombudsman has issued a public report criticising the home’s owners, Burlington Care Ltd, after the company offered the family just a week’s refund.
The ombudsman Michael King said the offer was “derisory”.
His criticism followed an investigation into the care of a woman with dementia, who moved to the Hawthornes Care Home, in Bradford after her husband became seriously ill.
An investigation by the ombudsman found the woman was subject to verbal abuse and rough handling and was left unattended for long periods. Her daughters said she was often left fully clothed in bed, her room smelled of urine, and on one occasion faeces was found under her nails.
The daughters lived a long distance from the home and when they became worried about the quality of care their mother was receiving, they hid a recording device in her room.
It recorded verbal abuse from one of her care workers as well as showing the elderly patient was left alone for 12 hours.
An internal investigation subsequently carried out by the care home found the care plan for the woman, who has not been named, was poor and there was no evidence her room had been deep cleaned, the beds changed and that was likely the woman slept in her clothes after putting herself to bed fully dressed.
The investigation also found that faeces under her nails due to a lack of personal care and no evidence of interaction between the woman and her care workers.
A safeguarding investigation by the local council confirmed poor care, inadequate leadership, probable neglect and a disregard for the woman’s dignity.
It also found that during internal inspections staff were encouraged to keep the woman out of the inspector’s way.
Ombudsman Michael King said: “Choosing a care home can be an incredibly stressful time for families. Relatives want to know they are choosing a place where their loved one is cared for in the best possible way.
“It is then all-the-more distressing when their loved one is let down by the very people who should be looking after them properly. In this case, this woman’s care fell below the basic standards we would all expect for our loved ones throughout her stay, and she was not treated with empathy, compassion or respect.”
The Ombudsman issued a public report, or Adverse Findings Notice, about as Burlington Care failed to comply with its recommendations.
The report has also been shared with care regulator, the Care Quality Commission.
Mr King said: “I asked Burlington Care Ltd to waive the full care fees for the few months she lived in their home. I am issuing this report because the provider has instead offered a derisory one week’s refund. This is not good enough and does not show sufficient appreciation of the serious impact its lack of care had on this woman and her family.”
The provider said one care worker had been dismissed following its investigation, while a new manager had been appointed and extra training carried out.