Elderly man in Milton Keynes care home left bleeding from ear after rat found on his bed

A care home worker discovered a rat jumping off an elderly man's bed, it has been revealed.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 5:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th March 2021, 5:34 pm

The carer noticed blood was coming from the man's ear and he was given a tetanus injection as a precaution, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman was told.

The Ombudsman was asked to investigate the incident along with other allegations made by the concerned daughter of the man involved.

These included bruising she saw on her father's face and the quality of the care he received.

A carer saw a rat jump off the man's bed

But the Ombudsman has decided not to investigate the complaints because a local safeguarding scrutiny has already taken place into the issues raised.

His report states: "Any further investigation by the Ombudsman is unlikely to make a different finding to that already uncovered by the investigation or provide Ms B ( the man's daughter) with the outcome she wants."

The report says Mrs B complained to the MK Council about its safeguarding investigation into concerns she raised about her late father, who is only known as Mr C.

It adds: "Sadly, Mr C is now deceased so any injustice caused to him by his care provider cannot be remedied."

The Ombudsman does not name the care home concerned but a council source today confirmed it is not a local authority-run establishment.

The Ombudsman's report states: "Ms B says Mr C was not properly cared for, some of his clothes were missing, he was not dressed and his nails were dirty.

"Ms B was concerned about bruising she saw on Mr C’s face in August 2019 and very concerned following a safeguarding investigation to find there had been another safeguarding alert raised in July 2019 when a carer discovered a rat jumping off his bed and found Mr C with blood coming from his ear.

"Ms B says the care provider sent Mr C to hospital in a tee shirt and pad, was told to clear his room, was not offered condolences and no-one from the home attended his funeral following his death."

The report says Mr C lived in the care home between November 2017 and September 2019. Sadly he died in October 2019.

It adds: "Ms C raised concerns with Mr C’s care provider in August 2019 when she found Mr C with bruising to his face. The care provider could not say how this had occurred and reported it to the council as lead authority for safeguarding vulnerable adults. The council says it investigated but could not determine how the bruising had occurred.

"Ms B contacted the council in January 2020 as she felt the explanation given was not adequate. Ms B provided additional photographs of the bruising to Mr C’s face and was concerned about missing clothing and poor hygiene/care he received. The council investigated Ms B’s concerns. It responded in September 2020 and apologised for the delay."

The first safeguarding alert was raised in July 2019, said the report.

"A carer found a rat jumping off Mr C’s bed and noticed a little blood on his right ear lobe. A GP was called who examined Mr C and advised the blood was because of Mr C scratching his ear, but as a precaution he was given a tetanus injection.

"The care provider called in a pest control inspector who found no evidence of rats on his visit. The pest control inspector said the rat may have got in through an open patio door as it was a hot day.

"The council said it attempted to speak to the person managing the premises at the time but was unable to do this as they had left. It spoke to the current manager who was concerned Ms B had not been informed of this incident at the time and apologised this was the case. The manager also apologised that no one had attended Mr C’s funeral and for failing to contact Ms B afterwards to explain this oversight."

The second safeguarding alert raised on 16 August and concerned bruising to Mr C’s face that had not been there when his daughter had last visited him two weeks previously.

"The council says it contacted the home who interviewed staff on duty over the period. It completed an enquiry report but could not determine how the bruising had occurred but thought it might be because Mr C had rested his hand heavily on his glasses," states the report.

It adds: "Ms C was unhappy with this explanation and showed the council additional photographs of the bruising which were more substantial than those produced by the care provider. The council says it shared the photographs with the police who decided there was not enough evidence to take the matter further. Ms B thought the hoist may have accidentally hit Mr C in the face, but the council and police said if this was the case, the bruising would have been more pronounced.

"The council discussed Ms B’s complaint about missing clothing and poor hygiene with the care provider. It apologised Mr B did not receive a good standard of care and advised it is reviewing processes regarding the labelling of clothing."

The report concludes: "While Ms B has not had answers to all her questions about what happened to Mr C we would not be able to make any different finding or provide a different outcome to that already given to Ms B even if we investigated.

"We recognise the concerns Ms B raised as safeguarding matters may have caused Mr C some injustice at the time but sadly as he is now deceased we cannot provide him with a remedy. The care provider and council has apologised to Ms B and advised of new procedures in place in the home to ensure residents receive good care and clothes are clearly labelled. We could achieve no more than this."

A spokesman for Milton Keynes Council told the Citizen today: "“Whilst we support care homes across Milton Keynes, they are regulated by the CQC and we are not responsible for the care provided. In this case, we worked closely with the family and raised several issues with TVP however, there was insufficient evidence to progress. We recommend that the family considers raising these concerns directly with the organisation that own and manage the service.”