Hereford & Worcester

Worcestershire man died following care home move despite warnings

Social workers moved an elderly man, who later died, from a nursing home despite warnings in their own report, a local government ombudsman has found.

An assessment concluding that a move would be detrimental to the man's health and well-being had already been done by Worcestershire County Council.

Ombudsman Dr Jane Martin reminded the authority of its duty of care and recommended the family be compensated.

The council has apologised and said it would review procedures.

When the area's NHS Trust removed his funding, his family could not afford to pay the extra to keep him at the home.

Dr Martin found officers failed to give the family correct information on 'top ups' available and did not consider if the council should continue to fund the man's care, even though it could have done so.

Within 10 days of the move in early November 2011, the condition of the man - who had dementia, diabetes, epilepsy, and a history of stroke and heart problems - had deteriorated.

He needed help from carers to get around, was doubly incontinent and needed support with his medication, eating and drinking.

Lesss than two months later, the man was admitted to hospital for pneumonia and dehydration and died in January 2012.

Dr Martin said: "While I cannot say that the new home and carers themselves caused the man's condition to deteriorate, it is significant that the his condition did worsen once he was moved.

"I would like to remind councils that while they can contract out care for the elderly to private homes such as this, they cannot contract out the responsibility."

She added that she had recommended a payment of £1,500 to be made to the family "in recognition of the stress and strain this situation must have placed them under."

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