When the time comes to make the difficult decision to place a loved one in a care home, or in the control of other care providers, we expect the standard of care provided to be exemplary.
To discover that the care provided has resulted in physical or psychological injury can be difficult to comprehend.
Unfortunately, while situations of this kind are thankfully rare, such neglect does exist and the health and wellbeing of those affected can suffer to varying degrees.
Fortunately, at Browell Smith & Co, we have a wealth of experience in dealing with cases like these and understand only too well the care and sensitivity with which they need to be handled.
Elderly people are often not able to voice their concerns or fears which makes them increasing vulnerable to abuse.
The abuse can be in the form of neglect or the failure to carry out simple everyday tasks such as cleaning wounds, changing dressing and basic sanitary hygiene.
A lack of nutrition and hydration is a prime example of care home negligence.
Care and service home providers should assess all residents at risk of fall and take steps to reduce this risk. This may involve closer monitoring, a lower bed or lifting the resident by way of hoist. All staff should be appropriately trained in lifting and moving frail and unsteady residents.
If inappropriate risk assessment is in place or poor training provided to staff, elderly residents can fall and suffer life threatening fracture injuries.
If the mistreatment complained of was carried out by isolated members of staff in a care home or service provider, the owners and/or employers of those responsible for the negligent or abusive actions can be pursued for compensation. It does not have to be against any individual or group of individuals as long as that person or persons were acting in the normal course of their employment.
Abuse or neglect suffered within a care home or by a care provider can have devastating, long term consequences for both the victim and their families. It is important to realise that you do not have to suffer alone or in silence.
At Browell Smith & Co our dedicated team of specialist solicitors will deal with your enquiry with sensitivity and discretion, to give you confidence every step of the way.
As with all claims for personal injury compensation there are time limits within which a claim must be lodged with the Court.
For accident claims, court proceedings must be started within three years from the date of your accident.
For occupational disease cases Court proceedings must be started within three years from the date when you first had reasonable grounds to believe that you may be suffering from a condition which has been caused by a third party. This may be your employer or it could be another organisation with whom you worked or who operated a premises close by.
In the event that court proceedings are not started within three years from the relevant date, the negligent party may be able to escape paying compensation on the basis that your claim is out of time.
The law surrounding the time limits for industrial disease compensation is extremely complex and issues will differ from case to case, particularly when seeking compensation on behalf of a former family member. It is not always necessary to have a firm diagnosis from a medical practitioner for the time limit to commence. In these circumstances you seek legal advice from a specialist as soon as you experience symptoms which you believe may have been caused by a third party.
From April 2009 the first £14,000 of any Capital is totally disregarded. If you have Capital of between £14,000 and £23,000 then you will be treated as having additional weekly income of £1 for every £250 over £14,000 for the purpose of assessing how much you have to pay towards your fees. If your Capital is over £23,000 then you will be expected to pay the full cost of your care. Capital can include the value of your former home after the first 12 weeks of you becoming a permanent resident in a care home. The value of your home is however disregarded if any of the following people still live in the property: Your partner A lone parent who is your estranged or divorced partner A child under the age of 16 A relative over the age of 60 A relative who is incapacitated by reason of long term illness or disability.
A deferred payment agreement is an arrangement whereby the Local Authority helps to pay the cost of the care home fees pending the sale of a property. In return they secure their interest by way of a legal charge on the property. This then enables them to recover any fees paid from the proceeds of the sale when the property is eventually sold. Such arrangements are interest free until 56 days after the date of the resident’s death. You should always seek independent legal advice before signing a deferred payment agreement.
You must be able to show that you have a primary need for health care. This is determined by carrying out what is known as a Continuing Care assessment. A trained assessor will complete a document called a 'decision support tool' which helps a panel of healthcare professionals to reach a decision. The decision support tool looks at the care needs in a total of 11 care domains and grades them as Low, Moderate High, Severe or Priority. If you have one priority need or two severe needs you should automatically qualify for free care. If however, you have a number of care needs which are graded high and/or moderate you may still qualify and it may be worth appealing against any decision not to provide free care.
In order to qualify for free NHS care you must show that you have medical needs which are considered to be intense, complex and unpredictable. Such medical needs must be more than merely incidental to your overall care package. Social care is the practical and emotional support that is provided to help people do the everyday things that most of us take for granted. e.g. getting in and out of bed, getting washed and dressed, eating at mealtimes etc., as well as keeping an eye on someone to make sure they are safe.
You should be able to argue that you have a beneficial interest in the property providing you have evidence to show that you contributed to the original purchase price, otherwise your claim may be more difficult to argue. When entering into arrangements of this sort with a family member it is always best to make sure that either your name is included on the title deeds or alternatively that there is a formal trust deed. You may need to take legal advice.
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