Dementia Care Home Negligence On the Rise

Published: May 23rd, 2023

7 min read

Dementia is one of the leading causes of disability in later life, with substantial societal impact in terms of economic costs, much of which arises due to the need for institutional care.

A recent report estimated that of the 820,000 people living with dementia in the UK, over 30% were living in long-term care institutions. With approximately 418,000 people living in care homes, this makes up nearly 4% of the total population aged 65 years and over.

The proportion of care homes in England offering dementia services branded inadequate by the CQC, more than tripled from 2% to 9% between 2019 - 2023, leading to concern that there is a national crisis in care safety as it emerged that more than half of residential homes reported on by inspectors this year were rated "inadequate" or "requiring improvement" (up from less than a third pre-pandemic).

For many families, a care home may be the best, or sometimes only option for a loved one with dementia, who is struggling to live alone, has complex medical needs, or has had a needs assessment that suggests a care home is the best choice.

Considering whether a loved one with dementia should move into a care home is often one of the most difficult decisions a carer will ever have to make. When your elderly or vulnerable loved one resides in a care home, you rightly expect a high level of care and protection of both their health and safeguarding needs. Whilst the majority receive an excellent service of care, there are exceptions, when failings by care home staff result in poor treatment and care which can lead to a loved one becoming injured or neglected. If this arises, you may be entitled to compensation.

The most common causes of medical negligence in dementia care homes often involve:

  • Pressure ulcers and pressure sores - These are injuries that can arise when a patient's skin integrity is compromised, usually due to being left immobile in bed or in one place for long periods of time. Pressure sores are often extremely painful and can take a long time to heal. A failure to manage them quickly and appropriately can also lead to worsening infections, Sepsis, and in some cases, death. Find out more about pressure sore claims here.
  • Medication and prescription errors - This could arise by staff administering the wrong medication, failing to prompt patients to take their own medication, or failing to keep up to date records of a patient's medication chart, which may lead to either too much or not enough medication being given. Prescription errors in dementia patients can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Find out more about prescription error claims here.
  • Injuries from falls - This can arise from mis-management, incorrect manual handling or failures to provide adequate supervision and support leading to unwitnessed falls.
  • Neglect - Omissions to provide adequate care to a Dementia patient can often lead to malnutrition, dehydration, poor hygiene, poor access to regular or timely healthcare or poor living conditions.

What would be considered as care home negligence?

A failure to adhere to a patients care plan, or failure to supervise leading to pressure sore or a fall. Whether or not you can pursue a claim against the care home is down to whether the standard of care is deemed below the standard of a reasonably competent care home dealing with the particular resident at the time.

How much can I claim for care home negligence?

Every medical negligence case is different, and the final amount of compensation awarded will be based on the severity and type of injury. You will also be able to claim for any financial losses incurred as a result of the injury, for example, additional care or rehabilitation treatment that may be required.

What does the medical negligence claims process involve?

Generally there is a 3 year time limit on compensation claims starting from the date of your incident, so it's important that you act quickly and seek advice from expert clinical negligence solicitors as soon as possible. However, if you are claiming for someone who lacks mental ability under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, then there is no time limit to making a claim..

Care Home Negligence Solicitors

Medical negligence can have a detrimental effect on the elderly or infirm, so if you feel your loved one has suffered a fall, dispensing error, pressure sore or injury, it's important you seek legal support.

If you are unsure if you are entitled to a care home negligence claim, our specialist team will be able to advise you further. It costs nothing to find out if you have a case, and all our care home claims are dealt with by specialist medical negligence lawyers on a no-win, no-fee basis.

Forbes Solicitors are one of the legal profession's industry leaders in the UK, due to our commitment to client care and focus on the best interests of all of our clients.

To find out more about care home negligence click here. If you have any queries or concerns on any of the issues raised in this article please contact a member of our dedicated Clinical Negligence team at Forbes Solicitors. For more information on the services we provide please contact us via email or phone us on 01254 872 111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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