Lowestoft care home company apologises over cash demand

A Lowestoft-based care home operator has changed its rules after a grieving daughter was invoiced for �3,000 because she failed to give advanced notice of her father's death.

Sue Cann received the bill from Kingsley Healthcare, which is based in Kirkley Park Road and has 18 care homes throughout Suffolk and Norfolk, the day after her 79-year-old father Kenneth's funeral.

The company has vowed to reduce the notice period required and apologised to 54-year-old Miss Cann, who said she was pleased the policy had been changed after being informed the private home in Dorset responsible for her father's care required four weeks' warning of his death.

The letter declared a notice period of 28 days was required in the event of a resident moving out or passing away and that, as her father died on January 30, and care had only been paid for until January 31, Miss Cann owed �3,052 for 27 days of outstanding charges for food, laundry and nursing care.

Kingsley Healthcare boss Daya Thayan said: 'I deeply regret any distress caused and can confirm that we are in contact with her so that we can resolve her particular concerns.'

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Mr Cann, a dementia sufferer, was admitted in 2010 to Dorset's Highcliffe Nursing Home, where he lived with wife, Winnie, until her death last March. His 17 months' care had already cost �63,000.

His daughter, a mobile canine beautician from Christchurch, Dorset, said: 'I'm pleased they have backed down. I couldn't have expected them not to charge anything, but this has made people look carefully at the industry.'

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The original letter expressed sincere condolences and described Mr Cann as 'a pleasure to care for', but went on to request a cheque for the amount due.

Sheila Scott, chief executive of the National Care Association, said she was pleased to learn that Kingsley Healthcare had now changed their policy.

'Clearly this was insensitive,' she added.

Mr Thayan, Kingsley chief executive, continued: 'This unfortunate incident has prompted me to reduce our notice period on contracts in the event of a death to just seven days.'

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