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Care home briefing 101 – Compensation for poor care

As society becomes increasingly more litigious, and with the growth of a “compensation culture”, care homes are facing increasing scrutiny of the quality of the care provided to residents and claims for compensation where this is thought to be below the appropriate standard.

A difficult area, although one where there are an increasing numbers of claims, is pressure care. Elderly care home residents are particularly at risk of pressure sores, even with the best care. Inappropriate pressure care can lead to significant claims for compensation.

The Courts have awarded significant sums in general damages for negligent nursing care, as the following case demonstrates. A care home resident who was admitted to a care home for two weeks respite care developed a pressure ulcer on her right buttock three days into her stay. Unfortunately it was not until a week into her stay that a turning regime
was implemented.

On admission the resident’s carer had provided the care home with E45 cream, a pressure relieving mattress and instructions to keep the resident hydrated. He had specifically requested that her buttocks be monitored for soreness and savlon applied.
These instructions were ignored leading to a grade 3 sacral pressure ulcer which required admission to hospital and did not heal until seven months later.

As a result of the poor care, damages of £15,970 were awarded together with compensation for the specific expenses incurred by the resident’s primary carer, which included the cost of curtailing his holiday. There was clearly a breakdown in care planning. This is an area that CQC are increasingly focusing on to ensure that care plans are resident specific, up to date and properly completed. Failure to do this can clearly lead to claims for compensation as referred to above, but also regulatory action or difficulties if an adult safeguarding issue arises.

Andrew Parsons
© RadcliffesLeBrasseur


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.