Daughter’s anguish at ‘undignified’ care home treatment

Shirley Leslie's mother - Isabelle - was in Gylemuir House care home - until her death last December. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Shirley Leslie's mother - Isabelle - was in Gylemuir House care home - until her death last December. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A WOMAN from the Capital has said she believes her mother could still be alive today had she received better treatment at a care home heavily criticised in its latest inspection.

Shirley Leslie, 57, spoke of her anguish at the care her mother, Isabelle Slight, received at Gylemuir House during the final six months of her life last year.

Isabelle Slight developed an ulcer on her leg during her time at Gylymuir House

Isabelle Slight developed an ulcer on her leg during her time at Gylymuir House

Isabelle, who passed away in December aged 78, moved into the interim facility in June last year following a six-month stay at the Western General Hospital.

But her daughter Shirley, who lives in Corstorphine, said it was clear “straightaway” that standards at Gylemuir were not up to scratch.

She said: “My mum passed away on December 30 and it doesn’t seem like it’s got better in the last five months.

“We had my mum in there not to forget about her, we just wanted her basic needs to be met. “Ninety per cent of the time they weren’t and it was due to them being short-staffed.”

Gylemuir House was established to provide temporary accommodation for those who have been discharged from hospital and are awaiting a permanent care home place.

However a recent visit from the Care Inspectorate saw a raft of concerns raised, with officials giving ‘weak’ ratings to both its management and quality of environment.

Shirley recalled one occasion in which her mother waited two hours for help after pressing her buzzer for help going to the bathroom, saying the usual wait was often 30 to 40 minutes.

She added: “I heard one of them [the carers] saying to my mum ‘you are wearing a pad’. They said just soil your pad and they’ll change that.

“Where’s the dignity in that? It was because it was easier to change a pad than to go to the end of the corridor to get the hoist and take her to the toilet.”

Read more: Care in crisis: Concerns raised over care home standards

On more than one occasion Shirley said problems with the water supply meant her mother was washed with cold water and paper towels, adding her room was rarely kept clean and tidy.

Isabelle, whose mobility was limited due to MS, also sustained a nasty knee injury – which required a stay in hospital – after Shirley said she was improperly maneuvered in her wheelchair by staff.

And when she asked to see a doctor about a possible infection shortly before Christmas, Shirley said her mother’s request was never put into the diary – despite the family initially being told it had.

Although she did eventually see a doctor Isabelle passed away days later.

“It was very frustrating and annoying,” said Shirley. “ I can’t forgive myself for putting her in there. She hated it from the day she went in until the day she died.

“The [Care Inspectorate] report reiterates that nothing has changed since my mum went into the care home.

“What she experienced in there is disgusting. We didn’t expect here to get any special treatment – we just wanted her basic needs to be looked after and that never happened.”

The EHSCP said it was unable to comment on individual cases.

However a spokesperson added: “We take all inspection reports and feedback from service users and their families very seriously and investigate all complaints raised.

“Significant changes have been made in Gylemuir and we have seen improvement in the grades in the latest Care Inspectorate report published in March.”

‘Residents need to sort out their own care plans’

Relatives of elderly residents in need of emergency care should go online and sort it out themselves, according to a tech firm with contracts in NHS England.

Edinburgh-based comparison firm Care Sourcer say there is no need for vulnerable patients in the Capital to be left languishing in hospital as there is no shortage of care providers in the Capital.

Instead the families of those eligible for free care should find a provider themselves – and bill the council.

The firm, which struck a deal with NHS England earlier this year, is now in talks with health bosses in Edinburgh.

Elderly care in the Capital was taken over last spring by the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership (EHSCP) but it recently came under fire for a string of failings.

Care Sourcer say the partnership needs to up its funding by 30 per cent to plug a £9 million shortfall for unmet care needs totalling approximately 4520 hours a week.

Andrew Parfery, chief commercial officer at Care Sourcer, said many families in Edinburgh were unaware they could sort care themselves while waiting for council-funded provision to be put into place.

“There is no issue with finding a provider within Edinburgh – the issue is that the people who need that care or are looking for it don’t know where to go to find it,” Mr Parfery said.

He said the idea was not to give up a free package of care but to find an interim provider – to be paid for by the council – while the council puts a package in place. He added: “What we are saying is that if you are assessed as eligible for care, don’t wait for the local authority to find it for you.

“Find a provider and then you can tell the council to pay the provider you have chosen by selecting option two of the Self-directed Support Act.

“This act allows people to take the allocated budget afforded by the council, purchase services and then request that the council manage the payments to the provider in question.”

Read more: Edinburgh care crisis: Two year wait for specialist care package

The firm is due to meet with partnership officials, with an EHSCP spokesman saying: “We can confirm that we have a meeting arranged with Care Sourcer to discuss their service.

“Care Sourcer are one of the providers the partnership is talking with regarding service matching.”

When it comes to a lack of funds, Mr Parfery said a key way to unlock cash would be by reducing delayed discharge – commonly known as bed blocking – which currently costs Edinburgh around £25 million each year.

He added: “The care market in Edinburgh and in the UK is fundamentally broken.

“One in four providers of care are at risk of liquidation over the next 12 months.

“And at the same time you’ve got this massive level of unmet need – it’s the perfect example of a failed marketplace.”

His comments come just days after a joint report published by the Care Inspectorate and Health Improvement Scotland found many older people and carers were unable to get any help unless their needs were critical.

They warned the EHSCP to take urgent action to improve services after it was discovered some patients had been left 100 days without any support.

A spokesman for the EHSCP said it was “working hard with home care providers, care homes and hospitals” to address delays faced by those eligible for a package of care, calling it a “top priority”.

They said steps had also been taken to reduce bed blocking, adding: “There has been a great deal of work done to reduce the numbers of people delayed in Edinburgh hospitals.

“We have moved to locality working, shortened the assessment process and are closely working with hospital social workers and occupational therapists to reduce delays.

“The rate of delays varies but recently we have seen a sustained downward trajectory across the six Edinburgh hospitals from 215 to 158 delays.”

A spokesman from charity Age Scotland said: “Too often older people struggle to find the care services they need, and any measures which are effective in them locate the services they need are welcome.”