Posted On / 21.02.2017

Care Homes and Legal Claims

With life expectancy increasing, more families are looking to the services of care homes for the support of elderly relatives. Unable to care for themselves fully, people require the support of nursing or residential care homes to provide a safe environment to enjoy the rest of their lives.  

A great many homes provide good care, meaning that residents can live safely and securely and their relatives have peace of mind knowing their loved one is safe.  

When care homes accept new residents, they assume responsibility for the residents’ safety and indeed owe them a duty of care and a contractual duty of service.  

Unfortunately, some residents do not experience good care and support. In some cases, it is not unknown for the duty of care to be broken when less than satisfactory care is given, and for residents to suffer as a result of the consequences.  Instances that have been seen in care homes include;  

  1. Wrongly dispensed medications.
  2. Failure to prevent the development of bedsores and to provide appropriate treatment.
  3. Falls occurring in the home as a result of failure to take all preventative measures.
  4. General neglect of health needs including of diabetic control, use of catheters and adequate feeding and nutrition/operation of PEG feeding ports.

In some cases such incidents can lead to legal claims and result in the payment of compensation. 

We sincerely hope that your experience of a care home is positive and that your relative receives good quality care for the remainder of their life. Do, however, be mindful of the tell-tell signs of concern which may indicate that your relative is at risk, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Look out for signs which could indicate a problem: 

  • Change in character
  • Deteriorating personal hygiene
  • Sudden appearance of bruises and cuts
  • Weight loss.  

Consequences and Claims

Negligent care can have disastrous consequences. Elderly and unwell people already requiring the support of a care home are fragile and vulnerable.  Recovering from an incident or accident can take many months and be a distressing time for all concerned.  Recovery may only be partial, and sadly it is not unknown for deaths to occur following falls or incidents of severe neglect.  Whatever the level of neglect or failure, the event is upsetting and frustrating, as often the simplest measures would have resulted in the incident being avoided.  This can be compounded and made more complicated and stressful if the person affected then continues to stay in that care home under the care of the very people who caused the problem.    

How we can help

Battens Solicitors are experienced in dealing with care home claims. We have a specialist, experienced team who are local to you and therefore able to provide a personal service in pursuing your claim. We are highly sympathetic and make it our mission to treat all our clients as individuals, not numbers.  We have offices located throughout Somerset and Dorset – from Bath to Weymouth and Wareham.  Being local, we are able to meet with you at any time offering you the advantage of a personal service as opposed to a remote law firm offering telephone contact only.  

We can pursue a claim for negligence and also consider a claim for breach of contract reflecting the Home’s failure to provide the service agreed, which may involve reclaiming fees paid to the care home. When the fees paid are often in the region of £900 a week, this can be a substantial element of the claim.   

Get in touch

If you are concerned about the care a loved one has received or is receiving, call us to discuss how we can help. Your case may be suitable for a “no win no fee” arrangement.   

Contact Victoria Knight on 01935 846131 in the first instance if you have a concern with a care home, or you can email victoria.knight@battens.co.uk

Visit our Clinical and Medical Negligence page by cliciking here