Woman in care home went five months with uncut toenails, report finds

Delph House in Welney “requires improvement”, says the Quality Care Commission.

Delph House in Welney “requires improvement”, says the Quality Care Commission. - Credit: Google Maps

A woman living in a Norfolk care home went five months without having her toenails cut, a report has found.

The report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigated the way in which a woman, referred to as Mrs Y, was cared for at Delph House care home in Welney, west Norfolk. 

The report found that the failure to ensure Mrs Y’s feet were properly cared for potentially breached “the fundamental standards of providing person-centred care and dignity and respect”. 

The woman’s feet were seen weekly by district nurses from November to February to dress pressure sores on her heels.

The care home said the feet dressings made a chiropody appointment impossible.

The ombudsman said: “The nurse cut Mrs Y’s toenails in hospital [in February 2020] and as she sadly died soon after the injustice to her directly is difficult to determine. But I can see this caused more worry and stress for her son.”

Mrs Y was also given her medication a day early by a staff member who did not read the instructions properly, though this was found not to have contributed to her health problems.

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“Both the care home and the council responded responsibly to the error,” said the ombudsman.

The council waived the cost of the final invoice for Mrs Y’s care.

“While I appreciate that money will not make up for the worry, I do consider this provides a personal remedy to Mr X [Mrs Y’s son] for his complaint,” said the ombudsman. 

County Hall, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norfolk County Council's headquarters on Martineau Lane, Norwich. The county council agreed with the ombudsman to waive the final invoice for Mrs Y's care and to ensure the care home updates its footcare policy. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The council will also ensure the care home updates its foot care policy so appointments can be rearranged if residents have dressings on their feet.

Delph House, which is run by 365 Care Homes Ltd, currently holds a “requires improvement” rating from the Care Quality Commission.  

365 Care Homes said: “The member of staff was trained in medication, as are all our senior staff, and we would never have anyone administer medication without training and being signed off as competent.

"However, if a medication error occurs it is company policy and standard care homes procedure for the staff member to re-sit their training and have their medication competency updated, which involves supervision when administering medication.

“In addition to this, the home also contact[ed] the GP for advice and report[ed] any errors to safeguarding, which was completed as the report shows.”

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