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Care homes banning complaining relatives.


Care homes are banning relatives from visiting elderly residents over complaints about quality of care.

In one case, a Somerset care home prevented a man from visiting his father, 93, and the children of a woman in an Essex care home say she was evicted after they made a complaint.

Paul Doolan says he was banned from visiting the Somerset care home, where his elderly father Terry lived, because he complained about the quality of care.

Terry Doolan had cancer, was registered blind, needed hearing aids and used a wheelchair.

The ban meant Paul could meet his father only at a restaurant, with a chaperone, which he said was "deeply upsetting".

He says one of his complaints was that on weekly visits, he rarely found his father's hearing aids to be working.

"I had limited time when I'd visit and, because his hearing aids weren't working properly, because his batteries had run out or they weren't clean, it took me a quarter of an hour to sort this out and start speaking properly to him."

After visiting his father at the home for three years, Paul was eventually sent an email in August 2012, saying he would have to cease visits with immediate effect.

He was also accused unacceptable behaviour towards the staff. He claims he did not receive any prior warnings and  "completely disputes" that he behaved badly. Terry was eventually moved to another care home, and died three months later.

A spokeswoman for the care home said: "During the time in question, the home followed all regulations set by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and all guidelines set by our local authority."

In another case, Angela and Mervyn Eastman say their mother, Careena, 86, was evicted from an Essex nursing home because they lodged one formal complaint about poor care. Careena had Alzheimer's disease and moved into the home in 2013.

The Eastmans say the home failed to adequately treat a gash on Careena's leg. They made a formal complaint in September 2014, after residents who were aggressive had been moved into the same area as their mother with neither residents, nor relatives, being informed beforehand.

But 48 hours later, the home responded, saying it had thoroughly investigated their complaint and could not "deal with family needs" or "Careena's needs.” The letter said Careena had been given notice to quit the home, and must leave within 28 days.

Mervyn Eastman says: "Why do we raise a complaint and our mum, who is vulnerable and has been traumatised, is given four weeks' notice to leave?”

A spokesman for the care home said it had a duty of care to ensure that it was always able to meet individuals' needs. It was compelled to make “unenviable and difficult” decisions to ensure that residents were supported in relocating to a service where their needs could be met.

This had been the case with Mrs Eastman. The spokesman also pointed out the home had been rated “Good” by the CQC in two recent inspections.

Chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: "Care homes are people's homes. They, their family and friends should not live in fear of being penalised for raising concerns.

"We have published information to clarify people's rights and our expectations of providers so that people living in care homes, their family and friends can be more confident that their concerns will be listened to and acted upon by providers responsible for delivering safe, compassionate and high-quality care."