Heartbroken Daughter To Take Legal Action Against Holmwood House

Irwin Mitchell Instructed To Represent The Family

11.09.2015

A daughter is taking legal action against Bristol care home Holmwood House after a damning independent report highlighted critical failings in the care and treatment of her mother who died shortly after leaving the care home.

Kathleen Cole was a resident at Holmwood House between 2008 and 2013 before she was transferred to Westbury Nursing Home. She sadly died in August 2013 at 77-years-old just days after leaving Holmwood.

Her daughter, Annette Whiting instructed Irwin Mitchell to investigate her mother’s care during her time at Holmwood House and now the law firm intends on investigating proceedings against Al Jabouri, owner of Holmwood House, Bristol City Council and NHS Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) following the investigation into the care Kathleen received.

Specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who represent the family say they were gravely concerned to learn of notes taken during a strategy meeting after Mrs Cole’s death. These notes revealed multiple issues in her care, including problems with nutrition and hydration, manual handling, skin care and management, administration of medication, failures to manage a pressure sore and a failure to diagnose pneumonia prior to her transfer to Westbury Nursing Home from Holmwood House.

These had all been concerns raised by Annette both in the lead up to and following her mother’s death. Annette did not feel that any of her concerns had been properly addressed by any of the parties involved.

The report commissioned by Bristol City Council and Bristol NHS CCG highlighted a number of areas in which Holmwood House failed to give Kathleen the appropriate care and failed to improve its services to residents despite repeated calls from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to take action.

The report recommended that Bristol City Council and the Bristol NHS CCG issue an apology to Annette for not making sure she was fully aware and understood the procedures and practices involved in the safeguarding and commissioning.

The report highlighted that:

  • The CQC throughout their investigations found that aspects of the care being delivered at Holmwood House  required improvement, that there were breaches of regulation and despite their findings improvements were not made;
  • The CQC eventually served a notice of proposal to cancel the registration of Holmwood House in 2014 – Mr Jabouri is appealing this decision.

The report concluded by making several recommendations:

  • Bristol City Council and Bristol CCG are to produce written guidance for carers and individuals who use their services which explains the relationships between providers and families;
  • Bristol CCG is to review how quality care concerns are managed internally in a transparent way which is clearly communicated to patients, carers and relatives;
  • Bristol City Council will work in partnership with Bristol CCG to ensure care quality concerns are shared and managed collaboratively with patients, carers and relatives.

Anusheh Burcher, a specialist abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office representing Annette, said: “We are pleased that a long overdue and thorough investigation by Bristol City Council and Bristol NHS CCG we are able to gain some insight about the care given to Kathleen and also the procedures of staff and management at Holmwood House.

“The report highlights a number of deeply concerning issues around inadequate training, qualifications, management and staff supervision at Holmwood House, which Annette had raised on numerous occasions to management. This report will now enable us to continue our investigations into the failings surrounding Kathleen’s care and ultimately will allow us to issue proceedings against those parties considered to have fallen seriously short in their duty of care to Kathleen.

“We hope that we are now able to find the answers Annette has been searching for and importantly ensure that the care home takes the necessary steps to improving all of their services and standards of care for their residents as they deserve the very best care available and treated with dignity.”

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the BBC in January 2014 found that there have been eight substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect at Holmwood House in the last two years.

Holmwood House stopped admitting patients with nursing needs under what was described as a "voluntary" arrangement in late 2014. It followed a risk assessment by the council and a suspension of all admissions from June until August last year.

Amongst Annette’s concerns were the circumstances around her mother being given an enema which Annette believes was unnecessary and left her mother distressed. The nurse in question, Cicily Joseph, was found guilty of assault - a verdict later overturned on appeal.  She resigned from Holmwood following her suspension.

Annette, 55, from Seamills, said: “My mum, like any other patient who is a resident at a care home, deserved to be treated with dignity and respect.

“I really appreciate the time taken to compile the independent report and in doing so fully investigating my concerns regarding the care given to my mum at Holmwood House and also the communication and processes carried out by Bristol City Council and Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group.

“I hope that with the help with my legal team at Irwin Mitchell, I will now be able to find all the answers I have been searching for over the past couple of years and also secure justice in my mum’s memory. I hope that this report is a stark reminder to Holmwood House and other care homes that substandard care will not be tolerated as vulnerable people like my mum are entitled to the very best possible care available to them.”