Gransnet forums

Care & carers

This really beggars belief!

(41 Posts)
merlotgran Mon 10-Sep-12 19:31:50

I had a phone call from my mum's care home this morning telling me she had toothache. Mum then told me on the phone that it was her jaw that hurt so I suspected a dental abscess. As DD1 was on her way to visit mum I asked her to investigate and phone me back. DD asked mum to remove her denture (she just has a few teeth missing on the bottom). Mum needed a bit of help and when the denture came out my poor DD thought she had pulled a couple of mum's teeth out with it. This was because the denture hasn't been removed for so long the calcium deposit which had built up underneath actually looked like a couple of teeth which were digging into mum's gum. She must have been in agony for ages. We were worried that she wasn't bloody wonder!!
The doctor visited and thankfully there is no infection but I'm absolutely furious especially as, when questioned, the carers all said they didn't realise mum had dentures. This is absolute nonsense of course as it's mentioned in her folder.
It seems that just getting by with the bare minimum of care will do now. angry

absentgrana Mon 10-Sep-12 19:34:49

shock – except I'm not. sad angry Been there done that – not any more because blrs her heart she's dead.

absentgrana Mon 10-Sep-12 19:36:26

bless, not blrs. Sorry. merlot I can't say anything that will make you feel better or more secure. [shrugging shoulders emoticon]

Elegran Mon 10-Sep-12 20:25:12

I saw a report once that an elderly lady had to have her dentures surgically removed, because they had not been taken out and cleaned by the care home for a long time. You do wonder how it does not occur to them that the elderly are likely to not have their own teeth!!

merlotgran Mon 10-Sep-12 20:31:50

Exactly, Elegran. Mum is 94 and you would think that the tube of Steradent and the little mug for dentures that I make sure is always in her bathroom would give them a clue. Mum still has some of her own teeth so I clean her toothbrush regularly with Milton as the carers dont help her to rinse it clean and she can't do it with her one good hand.

Bags Mon 10-Sep-12 20:54:18

merlot, sad. I don't know what to say except that I'm shocked. And they call themselves CARE workers!?

JO4 Mon 10-Sep-12 20:57:34

It's really awful merlotgran. Is there anywhere you can complain to, or do you not want to make a fuss? A quiet word somewhere would not go amiss. It's very worrying. sad

merlotgran Mon 10-Sep-12 21:07:30

I have had to complain quite a few times in the past so have been trying not to make waves for a while. Mum's GP knows how angry we are and I have a useful contact in social services. We also think the weekend staff put her to bed in her clothes last night but we can't prove that.

janeainsworth Mon 10-Sep-12 21:22:35

merlot have you thought of complaining to the CQC (Care Quality Commission)?
I know they do not have a good track record, but they have the powers to make unannounced inspections and if I were in your position I would be pressing for that.
They also have a newly-appointed Chief Executive whose remit is to turn it around and make it an effective organisation.
There is absolutely no excuse for what you describe, and your mother won't be the only one who is suffering either.

merlotgran Mon 10-Sep-12 21:31:44

Thank you janeainsworth. My problem is it's a brand new complex with really good accommodation which fools a lot of people. Lack of care, neglect etc., is very easily covered up. I have been trying to get mum into nursing care but as her funds have now run out I'm having no joy unless her current place decide they can no longer meet her needs. I think I'm going to have to keep a very close eye on things but not make too many waves as I've already had one carer removed from mum's care because of cruelty (which I was able to prove). I don't think mum will be with us much longer so I don't want her final months to be full of conflict.

merlotgran Mon 10-Sep-12 21:33:05

I forgot to mention, my clever DD took photographs of the condition of mum's denture and gum so I will have cast iron proof should her condition deteriorate.

kittylester Mon 10-Sep-12 21:39:46

merlot you have my sympathy (again!) It really is awful. My husband has an NHS contract to do domiciliary dental visits to house bound patients and he has twice had to do what you you describe. More often though, care homes and hospitals throw dentures away. It seems ridiculous that it doesn't occur to them that elderly patients might have dentures and to keep an eye out for them amongst bedding etc.

As jane says, your mum won't be the only one who is being badly cared for and the CQC will, I think, keep secret the name of anyone who reports anything which results in a visit. Ring them and check.

janeainsworth Mon 10-Sep-12 21:57:41

Merlot I do really feel for you, and your mother. It's so hard to see someone you love and who has loved you, so vulnerable in the last months of their life.
The CQC are supposed to look beyond the bricks and mortar of a care home - in fact that's a very small part of it.
Here's a link to the standards that they are looking at and expect to be met - it's all about treating residents with respect and dignity, as well as their medical needs.

Ella46 Mon 10-Sep-12 22:09:24

merlot your poor mum.
They don't complain unless they are in agony, because they don't want to be a nuisance. It's heartbreaking having to leave them, I do feel for you.
I would definitely contact the CQC if I were you.

merlotgran Mon 10-Sep-12 22:10:53

Thanks, janeainsworth. I have had a look and saved the link. There is a new manager starting this week so I think I'll introduce myself!!

Nanadogsbody Mon 10-Sep-12 22:21:32

Merlot this must be awful for you. Don't let them get away with this neglect of your poor mother. Send a recorded delivery report, with photos to the CQC, a copy to the home and a copy to the Head of Social Services. Send a letter to your local paper. Good luck.

nanaej Mon 10-Sep-12 22:51:26

Oh dear..lack of care..but sounds systemic ..if managers are not communicating, monitoring and checking.
Poor mum it must have been really painful sad ..hope all is healing well now and she is feeling better very soon and able to enjoy eating again

vampirequeen Tue 11-Sep-12 10:42:56

That's horrendous.

JO4 Tue 11-Sep-12 10:50:30

"put her to bed in her clothes last night ". You can't get a good night's sleep in your clothes, unless you're under ten!

I can understand you not wanting to make waves. It's a difficult one. Definitely a quiet word with the new manager. Perhaps things will improve with this manager. I hope so.

merlotgran Tue 11-Sep-12 15:25:03

I had a meeting with the new manager today. She called in the head carer who gave me look of.....Not YOU again. I was told that mum takes her denture out herself at night when they sit her at the sink, rinses it under the tap and puts it back in. I could barely control my anger. The thought of a confused old lady attempting some sort of dental hygiene while those who are supposed to be caring for her stand around doing nothing fills me with despair. You'd have to be blind not to see the build up of calcium which would have been causing a lot of pain. The head carer didn't seem at all bothered when I suggested that dentures should not be left in overnight. I was told that in future they would ensure the denture is soaked in Milton solution overnight and I got a half hearted apology.
As I left I turned round and saw the manager rolling her eyes. I don't want to make things difficult for mum as she is not good at the moment. I think she is giving up but they say, 'Don't get mad, get even'. I'll have my day eventually.angry

Movedalot Tue 11-Sep-12 15:55:25

I can't add anything but my sympathy to what has already been said Merlot this is such a sad story.

soop Tue 11-Sep-12 16:04:07

merlotgran Had I been in your shoes, the "rolling of the eyes" would have been the final straw. I would possibly have been taken away in a straight jacket, which would have matters ten times worse. Your mother, in fact every patient, deserves so much better. I admire your restraint. Keep that camera handy.

merlotgran Tue 11-Sep-12 18:10:08

Thanks, everyone for all your support. It really helps to be able to let off steam. Someone from social services is going in tomorrow to ask questions. I couldn't relax when I got home today as I was so steamed up so I rang them and spoke to a lady who has been very helpful in the past. She's as worried as I am that 'end of life care' is going to turn into 'end of life neglect'.
I'll be back in there tomorrow as well!!

soop Tue 11-Sep-12 18:20:06

Merlotgran Try to relax. I know that you must be awfully wound up inside. You need to take care of your own health, too. flowers

Elegran Tue 11-Sep-12 19:32:32

merlot could you arrange for a dentist to pay her "home visits" at intervals to check her mouth? Perhaps the dentist she got the dentures from still has her on his/her books. She should surely be entitled to the same attention and check-ups on the NHS as someone living in their own home.

And show the dentist your photographs before they go in.