Care home residents left stranded upstairs after lift failure

Residents at a Four Seasons care home have been left stranded upstairs for almost three weeks following a lift failure.

John Evans, the husband of one of the residents cared for on the first floor of The Headington Care Home in Oxford told the BBC that the situation was a breach of her human rights.

Mr Evans said: “The residents in the unit cannot be taken out to access the garden, attend the activities in the home, go on trips or attend medical appointments.

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“The company has made no interim alternative arrangements to allow the residents out of the home – in effect they are being detained.

“This is a breach of their human rights and is not humane.”

A spokesperson for Four Seasons said there were seven residents living on the first floor of the home, adding that three of these people were able to use the lift.

The spokesperson said that three of the four people stranded very rarely went downstairs went the lift had been operating.

“Residents on the first floor have the use of a large communal lounge as well as their own en-suite rooms,” the spokesperson added.

“Because of the hot weather we have brought in air conditioning units to make them more comfortable. The home has increased activities for residents on the first floor including, for example music therapy sessions, ladies’ pampering sessions, arts and crafts, baking sessions. The hairdresser visits these residents and church services are held upstairs for those of them who wish to attend.”

Four Seasons said the breakdown had happened despite the lift being properly maintain and serviced and it had been doing everything it could to remedy the situation.

The provider said an engineer had initially concluded that the breakdown was the result of an electrical problem and then found that a new pump was required which had to be shipped from Italy.

When the pump was delivered it was then found to be incompatible with the lift.

Four Seasons said that Otis lifts has apologised and promised to have the lift running by the end of the week.

The care provider has also ordered a stairlift to be installed as an alternative option which is scheduled to be in service by July 20.

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3 Comments

  1. J W Evans said:

    Four Seasons comments demonstrates its callousness. It suggests that because some people rarely go downstairs that it is alright to prevent them from leaving the unit, Four Seasons might want to consider the reason why some people hardly leave the unit – it is because they cannot walk and the staff do not take them downstairs.

    The lift problem is identical to the one that happened four-years ago – residents were stranded for five-weeks on that occasion. Four Seasons learnt nothing from that experience or from the boiler fire in 2015 and is showing no signs of learning from the current situation. Anyone that owns a car knows that regular servicing does not prevent it from eventually needing to be replaced. It would seem that in addition to replacing the lift (and installing a second for resilience) the Fours Seasons management needs replacing too.

  2. Den Osborne-Orlowsky said:

    Reading this article and speaking with relatives who have been affected by a non functioning lift, I came to the conclusion that ” Care Homes” need to live up to their names more. The overly hot summer certainly hindered residents’ families who wanted to get their relatives outside but couldn’t. Arrangements could have been put in place for alternative means to get people from upstairs to down. I am surprised there was not Plan B for this requirement in the event of fire or flood. Considering the cost of staying at this facility, it is shameful not to have 2 lifts. There are approx 68 residents paying £1000 per week for care, yet for 6 weeks or more the lift was broken. A new lift costs £70K but was not permitted by the Care Home Board. This is a dreadful situation for all relatives but very distressing for residents who cannot access the outside. The enclosed world of Alzheimer’s sufferers cannot be totally understood, but we do know fresh air and a little sunshine does every human some goodness. Please don’t let this happen again.

  3. Lynda Ivison said:

    In this day and age, surely someone could come up with a solution to the broken lift problem.
    Is it not reasonable to think maybe three able bodied staff could safely carry a resident downstairs strapped into a wheelchair.
    My family did this for my Father who lived in a second floor flat without a lift when he was terminally ill. Nothing is impossible.
    The residents must be given the chance to access the outside world and not just by looking through a window.. .

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