A FAMILY were so worried about the care their mother was receiving in a care home that they left a recording device in her room which taped a carer verbally abusing her.

The incident was included in a report by the Social Care Ombudsman on the Hawthornes Care Home in Birkenshaw, which is owned by Burlington Care.

The company said that the carer involved was dismissed, the manager resigned and support and training had been given to staff.

The ombudsman heard that the family were concerned about the standard of care the woman - referred to in the report as Mrs J - was receiving and they raised a safeguarding alert with Kirklees Council and moved her to another home.

A council inquiry then found that during internal home inspections, staff were encouraged to “keep Mrs J out of [the inspector’s] way”.

Mrs J, who died weeks after being removed from the home, went into the home after her husband became seriously ill in the summer of 2018 and was taken to hospital.

Mrs J’s daughter, referred to as Mrs D, said they had concerns about their mother’s care but put these down to the upheaval of the move and her grief after her husband died.

But they then thought there were inadequacies in the care of Mrs J, who suffered from dementia, was an amputee from childhood and used a wheelchair or crutches.

An internal care home investigation was launched and among the faults found were:

• No evidence Mrs J’s room had been deep cleaned or beds changed

• Evidence Mrs J often put herself to bed fully clothed and it was likely she slept in her clothes. Staff had wrongly assumed she dressed herself daily.

• Faeces found under Mrs J’s nails due to a lack of personal care.

• No evidence of interaction between carers and Mrs J, so the home accepted there had been a lack of empathy by staff.

• No evidence of communication with the family about Mrs J’s care planning.

The council’s safeguarding enquiry said there had been poor care provision, inadequate leadership, probable neglect and a disregard for residents’ dignity.

The ombudsman found that the care home’s faults had caused injustice to Mrs J. Her daughter said they caused significant distress to her mother as she knew she was being badly treated.

In response to the ombudsman’s draft decision, the report says Burlington Care accepted the care and support provided to Mrs J did not always meet the expected standards due to poor practice and a poor culture in the home inherited from the previous provider.

The company said the home manager should have sought support from a specialist service and it had been unaware of concerns about the care of Mrs J at the time.

It said it had taken immediate, robust action in response to the safeguarding investigation and offered a week’s refund of care fees to the family but the ombudsman ruled that this was inadequate and recommended that the company refund Mrs J’s full care fees for her stay, apologise to the family and pay Mrs D £250 as a remedy for uncertainty and distress caused to her by its faults.

This the ombudsman said the company failed to do and an adverse findings notice was published in the T&A yesterday detailing the case and its recommendations.

Burlington Care was asked for a comment on the case and why it did not wish to carry out the recommendations but had not responded by the time the T&A went to press.