It can be one of the toughest decisions you may have to make putting your loved ones in a care home and you want to ensure that they’re going to be receiving a high-standard of treatment whilst they’re in there. Unfortunately, in some care homes, the residents can be victims of ill-treatment and medical negligence which can make you apprehensive when they move. If you know the steps you can take if you believe that medical negligence may have occurred, it could put your mind at ease.
How To Spot Medical Negligence
Spotting medical negligence in care homes can depend on the level of incapability the resident has and it can be relatively difficult identifying the difference between the resident unable to care for themselves and causing harm and medical negligence. However, there are a number of signs that can help you distinguish between the genuine injuries to the ones caused through lack of treatment:
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Over (or under) medicated
- Bruises or accidents that are unexplainable
- Bed sores
You need to remember that this list isn’t definitive and there are many other physical and mental signs you should be aware of; however, these are the four main signs that neglect may be occurring.
How to make a complaint
If you’re worried that medical neglect may be occurring, first you should raise your issue internally to the care home manager who may be able to enlighten you on the situation. However, if you’re unhappy with the response of the manager then it’s possible to take the complaint further and lodge a formal complaint and send it to the CEO.
If you reach this point, you should set your concerns out clearly and ensure that you keep a record of all the communication that has occurred with the manager, CEO and the members of staff who you believe may have caused harm or provided negligent treatment, this will allow you to use it as evidence should you need to. Not only this, but the care home should provide you with the information you should follow for the complaints procedure and the actions that you need to follow to ensure you stick to the correct protocol.
If none of the mentioned bodies do not provide any reassurance and assure that the medical treatment or neglect will be prevented in the future, then you can take the complaint even further and contact the Care Quality Commission or the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.
Preparing for legal action
If you believe that the injuries that your loved one has received is through the neglect of the care home then you should pursue a medical negligence claim through a civil court. You are able to do so if the loved one provides you with written permission to act on your behalf. If they provide you with the right to claim on their behalf, you should consider the following before the legal action:
- Ensure that you record as many details as possible about your loved ones’ treatment and the injuries that were associated with it.
- Keep all the relevant documentation referring to your loved ones’ care.
- Keep a record of the times you looked after your loved one
- Record all the related expenses such as enlisting a solicitor to help move your loved one from one care home facility to another.
By ensuring that you look for any of these potential ill-treated or neglected issues, you’ll be able to spot negligence relatively quickly and follow the correct proceedings to completely rectify the possible issues.