Southern Cross under fire over pensioner’s agony

Southern Cross wonders where its profits have gone?  Two days ago I suggested that people are becoming wary – and weary – of the problems surrounding Southern Cross care homes. a reference to the many investigations that have been or are being undertaken in connection with their care homes.

Today, the Manchester Evening News (but be warned before you click on that link – it is not for the timid) carries the horrific story of Betty Delaney, 82, who suffered severe neglect in a Southern Cross care home, where the frail pensioner was left in agony with bedsores during the final months of her life.

The family’s solicitor Sian Thompson said she was pleased the care home’s owners had admitted liability, adding: “Southern Cross could have easily prevented Mrs Delaney’s bedsores by putting her on a pressure mattress, turning her and checking on her regularly and having a risk assessment in place.

“Not only did they fail to do this, they failed to even detect there was a problem.

“This case highlights the way our elderly are so often forgotten about. Betty Delaney should never have been put through this indignity, and we hope the admission of liability has brought some closure for her family.”

“Not only did they fail to do this, they failed to even detect there was a problem.” That is inexcusable, and no amount of post-rationalisation can ever justify such unprofessional low standards of care.

Mrs Delaney, my thoughts will be with you, and with your family.  The likelihood of closure for the family is slim.  They will be only too aware that there was nothing they themselves could have done to prevent the pain Betty Delaney endured.  But they will be left wondering for ever and a day how it came to be that nobody at Southern Cross, nobody at Rochdale Council, nobody at the CQC, and nobody at Oakland Care Home, Rochdale, “detected there was a problem” with the quality of care – or rather the inferiority of care at Southern Cross.

Many people reading this article about Betty Delaney will perhaps be under the impression that neglect in care is a very rare occurrence.  It isn’t, as I know myself.  I believe we need a strong change in the culture of care so that we can work towards a nationwide standard of care that we can be proud of.

At present, we naively rely on the word ‘care’ to mean just that, but we do so at our peril.

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1 Comment

Filed under abuse, care, care homes, growing older, neglect, professional responsibility

One response to “Southern Cross under fire over pensioner’s agony

  1. And this was one of Southern Cross’s “good” care homes, according to the latest inspection report I could find. However, the Care Quality Commission report is two years old (http://62.73.173.233/CSCI/CRH/06/DS0000040406.V369460.R01.S.pdf) and does refer to problems in the past. It does look like they have re-surfaced. Southern Cross this week admitted that 16 of its care homes had received zero stars from inspectors. Achieving only one is bad enough so it does make me wonder how low the standards are in a care home that is zero-rated.

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