A Somerset woman who claimed her Falklands hero father was failed in care during the coronavirus pandemic says she has had a complaint upheld.
Jimmy Quinn, a former Navy serviceman and prominent member of the Yeovil community, died February 23 aged 75 after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year.
His daughter Natalie Quinn says her father was failed in care while at Hamilton Park Nursing Home in Taunton in the final months of his life.
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Ms Quinn complained to Somerset County Council Safeguarding, which prompted an investigation and saw her initial complaint upheld upon appeal.
She said that his care was “unacceptable” and that his condition worsened during long periods in which she and her mother were unable to see Mr Quinn during the third national lockdown.
Ms Quinn said that her father lost a “horrendous” amount of weight over six weeks and was left unable to walk and with bedsores on his back.
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Mr Quinn moved to the Hamilton Road site from another care home at the end of last year and had to isolate for the first two weeks, in line with Covid-19 protocol.
His daughter said that during her rare visits her father would sit and cry, confused as to why she could not hug him.
After Christmas, she said she was informed that there had been an outbreak of the coronavirus in the home and her father would have to isolate.
Ms Quinn said that during FaceTime conversations with her dad she saw and photographed carers not wearing masks, despite the fact the country was gripped in the second wave of the pandemic, and noted that her father became unwell.
She said the home informed her that her father had lost the ability to walk, despite being able to walk “perfectly well” before he entered the home.
Ms Quinn said that the situation only worsened and her dad was left in a bed for weeks, leaving him with “bedsores that had turned black covering his body”, which Ms Quinn says only saw and photographed when she was permitted to visit at the end of his life.
She said: “I later found out that once the residents had been isolated in their rooms, they’d stopped helping him get out of bed. I was there for six days, for 10 to 12 hours, and he got moved once.
“I asked for all the notes about my dad and they said their computers weren’t working those days and they lost the handwritten notes.
“The decline in my father during lockdown was severe and I wasn’t allowed in, like many other families, until the end of his life. My dad was a wonderful man and shouldn’t have suffered in his care.”
Mr Quinn died of pneumonia days after his daughter’s final visit to the home.
Jimmy Quinn and wife Jan
Hamilton Park Nursing Home has an overall rating of ‘Good’ from the Care Quality Commission.
However, its classification was previously downgraded to ‘Requires Improvement’ after a routine inspection in 2019.
When Ms Quinn discovered this, she described her upset at reading that many of the issues raised in the report were failings she said she experienced at the home.
The CQC’s 2019 report found that the nursing home had “not been effective” in monitoring the quality and safety of the service people received there.
The inspection also found that the home was not effective at identifying issues and driving improvement and some records requested during the inspection were not available.
The inspection report noted that risks to people’s health and wellbeing were not always managed safely; this included risks relating to the prevention of pressure ulcers, weight loss and certain health conditions.
The home was told to improve the service’s safety, its effectiveness, its care, its responsiveness and how well it was led.
A follow-up CQC inspection in 2020 found that “improvements had been made and the provider was no longer in breach”, which resulted in the reinstatement of the ‘Good’ rating.
Ms Quinn contacted Care Campaign for the Vulnerable, a non-profit organisation supporting families with loved ones in care homes, after her complaint to Safeguarding was initially dismissed and it urged her to persevere.
The CCFTV reported that it was sent the Safeguarding investigation outcome report, which it said showed that Ms Quinn’s concerns had been “substantiated”.
The CCFTV statement read: “We have also been sent photos of staff not wearing masks during Covid when the government guidance was for carers to wear PPE appropriately. We are continuing to support the daughter.”
A quoted excerpt from the Safeguarding investigation report on the CCFTV website reads: “[Natalie Quinn’s] concerns were rightly taken seriously and, in my professional opinion, have been thoroughly investigated – and there have been organisational learning as a result of [Natalie Quinn’s] concerns being raised which will reduce risk to other service users.”
Ms Quinn concluded: “If I had not persevered, they would have gotten away with that. I did all of it myself, because I thought I was fighting a losing battle.
“If lessons will be learned from this, it’s at my dad’s expense.”
Jayne Connery, director of CCFTV, said: “We want to see better transparency with families that are suffering when they raise issues in their loved one’s care.
“The fact that [Ms Quinn] had to battle to get a re-investigation that has now substantiated those concerns, I think is bringing undue stress on a family.
“This is not an isolated case, sadly, and we will advocate safety monitoring, particularly in dementia care homes. As an organisation, we are trying to continue the call for safety monitoring to bring greater transparency into the care of our most vulnerable.”
A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said: “Firstly, we would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of Mr Quinn.
“Sadly, concerns over his care were raised shortly after he passed away. SCC have carried out a safeguarding enquiry, including consultation with interested parties, to establish what happened.
“Although we cannot comment in detail on the confidential matters raised, we would like to assure Mr Quinn’s family that we are working with the care home to address all the concerns raised.”
Hamilton Park Nursing Home did not respond to requests for comment.
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