THOUSANDS of complaints have been made about the way adults are treated in social care.
As council budgets are cut and pensioners face paying more to be looked after, social services across Bournemouth, Poole and the rest of Dorset have been dealing with 2,569 complaints since April.
A further 4,322 complaints were raised during the previous financial year.
Today, the Echo can exclusively reveal the scale of concerns being raised about vulnerable people.
Cases include an 87-year-old year old man who has since died was left on the floor twice after falling out of bed.
Our investigation comes as the Care Quality Commission nationally found some care providers are struggling under the pressures of helping an ageing population and the rising tide of patients with complex problems. At times they found a culture “in which unacceptable care becomes the norm”.
Our research shows: • In the year to March 31, Bournemouth’s Adult Social Care Safeguarding Adults Services received 1,913 complaints relating to the care of vulnerable people. From that total 419 related to care homes.
• From April 1 to the start of November this year Bourne-mouth council received 956 complaints with 31 of them relating to care homes.
• In Poole in the year up to March 31, Adult Social Care Services received 652 alerts regarding concerns for adults at risk within the borough. Of these, 160 related to care homes.
• And from April to November, Poole council has received 397 complaints, with 107 relating to care homes.
• In the 2011-2012 financial year, Dorset County Council received 1,757 alerts or concerns relating to vulnerable adults. From those 531 progressed on to a referral or a full investigation with 274 of those related to care homes.
• From April to November Dorset County Council has had 1,216 alerts with 223 relating to nursing and care homes. Out of the total, 273 progressed to an investigation.
A Bournemouth Council spokesman said it had “fully investigated” 700 of the complaints made in the year up to March.
The remainder of the complaints were dealt with through the community care assessment process – incidents that the council felt were less serious and could be resolved through providing additional support.
They said none of those cases resulted in criminal prosecutions with a high proportion inconclusive due to a lack of sound evidence.
'They locked it and forgot I was there'
DESMOND Lovesey, 87, told the Daily Echo before he died on November 12 that he had been left in his room and “forgotten about”.
The pensioner said he fell on the floor at night twice and was left with a pillow under his head as care workers waited for day staff to get him into bed.
Before he died the retired retail business owner told the Daily Echo he was left in his room when he stayed at Southwood Lodge Care Home in September.
“They locked the room,” he said.
“They locked it and forgot I was in there.”
Desmond’s son Pete is angry that his father spent an unhappy four days at the care home in Southwood Avenue so close to his death.
“It makes me furious,” Pete said.
“It was absolutely disgusting and we are all getting older so it really is quite frightening.”
Pete, 48, said, his father was left sitting in a chair unable to get up to reach his drink and panic button or open the door.
Pete’s wife Rachel resorted to calling an ambulance crew to get him into bed using a hoist one evening.
And after paramedics were called out the ambulance service raised the alarm to social services.
The paramedics left notes stating they used the care home’s equipment, “which staff said couldn’t be used”.
The notes said: “Staff at the home said his level of care is greater than they can provide.
“They stated they are unable to transfer him into bed and said that he would have to stay in an unsuitable chair.”
They advised Desmond’s family to contact social services and the next day Desmond was taken back to hospital before being moved into private care.
Desmond, of Talbot Woods, was diagnosed with the disorder cardiac amyloid three years ago and given two years to live.
“He held my hand and said ‘please get me out of here’, and I said ‘I’m trying’,” Rachel said.
Southwood Lodge Care Home
SOUTHWOOD Lodge Care Home is run by Reside Care Homes, part of the Hadland Care Group.
A spokesman said safeguarding officers and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) were contacted directly and Mr Lovesey did not complain to them.
She said: “The care home provides good care for clients who are of a level of health suited to the environment.
“When it becomes a situation that a client needs further attention than standard practice, alternative arrangements are made, ie: paramedic attention or transfer to a nursing home.
“Mr Lovesey’s health was monitored after his transfer to the home from hospital and communication made with his GP.
“We will continue to co-operate fully with the local authority in line with the Safeguarding Adults policies if any further concerns are raised.
“We take all complaints about the home very seriously and will always work with the relevant local authorities as part of any investigation.”
His son Pete said he asked Poole Hospital not to discharge him there a third time as he felt his father was left dehydrated and underfed there.
And on the feedback section of the NHS website, Alderney Hospital is the subject of several criticisms.
One piece of feedback reads: “I just hope and pray I never end up in a place like this.”
Another reads: “Alderney is the worst place I have come across. Nobody cares or listens.”
Another described Alderney as: “A dreadful place, where every horror story you read in the papers about care for the elderly comes true.”
Other feedback remarks are positive, describing a 94-year-old woman being treated “well and with respect”.
Another described Alderney as “welcoming, clean and comfortable”.
Teresa North, senior matron at Alderney Hospital, Dorset HealthCare said they thoroughly investigate complaints and work closely with patients and families to reassure them and address issues.
She said: “It’s really important to us to provide a high level of care to our patients and we welcome feedback on our services as it enables us to improve the care we provide.”
Councils ‘take all concerns very seriously’
EILEEN Dunnachie, service director for adult social care at Bournemouth Council, said any further concerns about Desmond Lovesey’s care would be investigated.
She said: “We encourage members of the public and social care professionals to report any potential concerns about vulnerable people receiving social care support who may be at risk of harm.
“All concerns are taken seriously and, where necessary, action is taken to address any actual or potential harm.
“At all times we act promptly to safeguard vulnerable individuals in a way that is proportionate to the concerns raised.”
Concerns can be raised Bournemouth Care Direct at the Town Hall Annexe in St Stephen’s Road or call 01202 454979.
• JAN Thurgood, strategic director at Poole Council, said their campaign to raise awareness of adult safeguarding has much to do with their increase in safeguarding concerns in the last two years.
Mrs Thurgood said all concerns are “fully assessed” and they work with partners to ensure that residents in care and nursing homes receive a good quality of care and are treated with dignity and respect.
She urged anyone with concerns about a vulnerable adult to contact Poole council’s Adult Social Services Helpdesk on 01202 633902.