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Questions over standards of care in nursing homes

The Public Services Ombudsman has severely criticised the people who are in charge of inspecting care homes across Wales and ensuring standards for some of our most vulnerable elderly people.

It follows a lengthy investigation into the case of an elderly woman who died three years ago. The watchdog says that the Care and Social Services Inspectorate's investigation was so narrow that 'serious failings had not been identified.'

Tonight Age Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government to 'urgently investigate and address failings in basic care.' Owain Phillips has tonight's top story.

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Welsh Government: Dignity in care 'a top priority'

The Welsh Government expects all Health Boards to have robust processes in place to monitor the quality of care their patients receive, wherever it may be provided, and take action where there is cause for concern.

A considerable amount of work is already under way to improve dementia services in Wales, including targets that have been set for the NHS to reduce the time between the onset of symptoms, and diagnosis and treatment. These targets are also being used to improve care for people with dementia in general hospital settings and to improve dignity and care as recommended by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales. Additional financial investment is being made in this area.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Dignity in care is a top priority for the Welsh Government. All quality and delivery meetings with the health boards and trust executive teams include discussion on this area of care and where appropriate innovations and good practice are shared from other organisations.

We are committed to improving the quality and experience of care for people at the end of their life and recently consulted on a delivery plan for end of life care. The final plan will be published in the coming months.

Age Cymru: Welsh Government must act 'urgently' on standards of basic care

We must all be able to access high quality care services for ourselves and our loved ones, and be certain that we will be treated with dignity and respect when we entrust care to others. Clearly, as identified by the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, there were major shortcomings in the care received by Mrs X, with her personal hygiene, dietary requirements and physical safety neglected. Of most concern to us is that Mrs X’s final wish to die in her own bed surrounded by her family was ignored, because it had not been properly written into her care plan.

– Graeme Francis, Age Cymru

Whilst there are many examples of good care in care homes across Wales, Age Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government to work with health boards across Wales to urgently investigate and address failings in standards of basic care where they occur. There must also be mandatory human rights and dignified care training for frontline health and social care staff in Wales to ensure that dignity is always maintained.

Ombudsman: Quality of care homes must be properly monitored

"As time goes on, more and more people will be cared for in nursing homes" says Peter Tyndall, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

"We need to make sure that what happened in England - where the quality of care in homes wasn't being properly monitored - isn't repeated in Wales".

"I know that the NHS in Wales are taking this seriously, but this is an issue that has to be dealt with across Wales, not just in this particular care home".

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Aneurin Bevan Health Board: 'Sincere apologies' for patient failings

The Chief Executive of Aneurin Bevan Health Board says the organisation is "committed" to following the Ombudsman's recommendations on improving care in its care homes.

Dr Andrew Goodall says he has met the Ombudsman to discuss the complaint made by 'Ms A'.

Aneurin Bevan Health Board accepts the findings of the Ombudsman and would wish to offer its sincere apologies to the family for the failings identified within the report.

The Health Board is aware that some of the matters in the report relate to a period up to and including October 2009, prior to the establishment of Aneurin Bevan Health Board.

Soon after its establishment, the Health Board recognised the issues covered in the report and has responded to these through changes to our Policies and Procedures and our general approach as an organisation.

– Dr Andrew Goodall, Chief Executive, Aneurin Bevan Health Board

Care and Social Services Inspectorate responds to Ombudsman criticism

This is a tragic case which highlights the complexity of care for people with dementia and physical care needs and underlines the importance of advance care planning.

CSSIW would like to extend our sincere apologies to Ms A and her family.

We believe there is much to learn from this report and we fully accept its recommendations, many of which have, or are in the process of being addressed. CSSIW implemented new procedures for inspection, enforcement and handling complaints in April 2012 which strengthen the arrangements for assuring the quality of care provided.

– Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales

Ombudsman criticises dementia patient's care

The Public Services Ombudsman has criticised the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and watchdog Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales over the treatment of an elderly woman with Vascular Dementia who died in January 2010.

The Ombudsman was responding to a complaint from the woman's daughter, 'Ms A', over the standard of care provided at a specialist care home contracted by Aneurin Bevan Health Board.

In his report, published today, the ombudsman raised concerns over:

  • the effect on the patient's care and dignity as her care plan was ignored including nutritional, hygiene and safety needs.
  • a lack of additional risk assessments after the patient sustained a number of injuries while at the home.
  • the patient's wish to die at the care home was not acted upon.
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