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Failures over family contact arrangements at Sanctuary Care result in avoidable distress, Ombudsman finds

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Sanctuary Care has been asked to apologise and pay financial redress to a resident and her loved one after failing to properly deal with family contact arrangements during the pandemic.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found that the actions of the provider’s Park View residential care home in Sheffield caused avoidable distress to the resident.

It has asked Sanctuary to apologise for its failings and pay the resident (Mrs Y), who has dementia, and her daughter (Mrs X) £200 each.

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The decision came after Mrs X complained to Sanctuary Care on July 19, stating that her mother’s mental health had deteriorated over the last four weeks because Park View had failed to follow the government’s and Sanctuary’s own policies properly.

She said Park View had lost Mrs Y’s hearing aids and did not always have the equipment loaned from the NHS when family visited, preventing her from communicating properly with them.

Mrs X also complained that Mrs Y was wearing her old glasses, which were not the right prescription.

In addition, Park View said in early July that only one member could visit a resident and if two people came, one would have to wait outside for 15 minutes until the other left. But Sanctuary’s Care policy provided for two people from the same household to visit at the same time, subject to keeping two metres distance.

Mrs X also complained that three members of staff had sat smoking with no PPE and that conditions for visits were “unacceptable”, with Mrs Y having to sit on a hard chair in a doorway of a fire escape, a wooden bench outside in the cold or a “dingy bedroom”.

A family member also lost 10 minutes of a pre-arranged visit because Mrs Y was still in bed.

In making its decision, the Ombudsman said: “Sanctuary Care has not dealt with this matter properly, resulting in avoidable distress. It needs to apologise, pay financial redress and take action to prevent similar problems from arising again.”

Sanctuary Care has apologised to the family and agreed to pay £200 to Mrs X and Mrs Y. It has also agreed to identify the lessons to be learned from this complaint and produce an action plan for implementing them, including training on best interest decisions under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

Sheila O’Connor, Director of Operations at Sanctuary Care, said: “While we are proud of the way our staff have responded to the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, working hard to offer the highest possible standards of care, we accept the Ombudsman’s determination that the home did not follow our policy. We are sorry for the distress caused to the resident and their family.

“We remain committed to delivering a service that is centred on our residents’ wellbeing and happiness, and ensuring everyone at our homes receives the high standard of care they deserve.”

Tags : ombudsmanPark ViewSanctuary Care
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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