THE family of an 89-year-old who passed away at the troubled Pentland Hill nursing home after moving from another facility closed by inspectors have called for an investigation into standards of care for the elderly.
Marion Wilton said that she had repeatedly raised concerns during her mother Williamina Wight’s near two-year stay at Pentland Hill, where she moved after her previous residence, the Elsie Inglis care home, closed after a damning inspection report and a police investigation into a resident’s death. The Bupa-run Pentland Hill nursing home has been closed to new admissions following a critical Care Inspectorate report in August and police are now investigating four deaths at the Corstorphine facility.
In a diary which she kept documenting her mother’s care, Mrs Wilton wrote that she believed that the home was understaffed at weekends, that they found her mother “nearly on the floor” after being left unattended in a wheelchair and that blisters had suddenly appeared on her arm.
Another entry complained of too many paracetamol tablets being given to her mother in a week.
She said she believed standards were no better than the Elsie Inglis home, which she also criticised in contemporary entries in the notepad.
Mrs Wilton, 67, said: “She was in Elsie Inglis, so after that we thought the Bupa home would be a good one. It was OK when she first went in there and we had no qualms. But it deteriorated and I think it became just the same as Elsie Inglis.
“We would often complain once or twice a week. Things would go missing and she would never have any drinks next to her. I’ve still got the notes of all the different things. I was going to get rid of it but something just said no.”
Ms Wight’s son-in-law, Ronald Wilton, called for a wider investigation after witnessing care first-hand in two homes where standards have been questioned.
He said: “It’s an absolute scandal. I think they just can’t get proper staff. I think there needs to be an investigation.”
Despite Mr and Mrs Wilton insisting that in the months before Ms Wight’s death in April they were complaining to staff on a weekly basis, Bupa said it was “surprised” to hear the family was unhappy and had no records of complaints about general care or nutrition.
Vivienne Birch, director of partnerships with Bupa Care Services, said Ms Wight was assisted with her nutritional needs and that her nurse had said her weight was stable.
The only complaint the service had was over missing toiletries, she said, and a locked cabinet was then provided.
Ms Birch added: “We actively promote and create a culture to protect residents where our residents, relatives and our people are encouraged to feel confident to report any concerns they have.”
Elsie Inglis scandal changed law
THE Elsie Inglis care home was forced to close down in May 2011 on the back of a police investigation into two deaths and a damning inspection report.
Owners voluntarily closed it after it became clear they would not be able to meet a series of tough requirements, imposed by then-regulator Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland.
The watchdog chronicled several failings at the facility, in Abbeyhill, including that residents had to sleep on stained and ripped mattresses, were forced to eat stews, casseroles and mashed potatoes with their fingers, that they developed wounds and sores and that their teeth were sometimes not brushed.
Improvements to Scotland’s inspection regime were brought in on the back of the Elsie Inglis case. Under the new system, all care homes are subjected to an unannounced annual inspection, reversing a proposed move to one inspection every two years.