Edinburgh care home a disgrace - son of resident

Beatrice Hunter, a resident at Pentland Hill Care Home, was admitted to hospital suffering from dehydration. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Beatrice Hunter, a resident at Pentland Hill Care Home, was admitted to hospital suffering from dehydration. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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The son of an elderly resident at a troubled Scottish care home has branded the treatment his mother received “a disgrace” after she was admitted to hospital suffering dehydration.

Alex Hunter complained about the care of his 88-year-old mother Beatrice at the Pentland Hill Care Home in Edinburgh following concerns about her weight loss and the development of a severe bedsore.

The Bupa-run home responded in a letter, acknowledging failures in her care and pledging to address the family’s concerns.

But five days later, he discovered his mother was extremely unwell and she was taken to hospital suffering dehydration and a urinary infection, Mr Hunter said.

Yesterday, Bupa said Mrs Hunter had been refusing food and drink and an ambulance was called as soon as her condition deteriorated.

Mr Hunter said he did not want his mother to return to the home, which has been subject to a police investigation following the death of a resident in July.

Last month, the home was also heavily criticised in a Care Inspectorate report, and Pentland Hill was issued with a formal improvement notice.

New admissions to the home have been suspended and the inspectorate is investigating four complaints.

Mr Hunter said his mother had been in the home for several years and had been in good health until June when she became bedridden, lost weight and then developed a bedsore.

After the Care Inspectorate published its report, he wrote to the home to express his concerns. In its response, the home admitted they could find no documented evidence that his mother’s skin was assessed regularly before the sore developed.

“It is not acceptable for Mrs Hunter to have developed the pressure ulcer that she did as it is clear that all preventative measures were not put in place,” the home’s manager wrote.

They also admitted that no action was taken until Mrs Hunter had lost a significant amount of weight and apologised for any distress caused. The letter went on: “Staff are closely monitoring Beatrice’s weight and her food and fluid intake to ensure any action can be taken quickly if anything within your mother’s condition changes.”

With these reassurances, Mr Hunter said he was surprised when, five days later, he learned his mother had fallen ill again.

“She went to hospital on Sunday and she was almost comatose. I couldn’t get a word out of her. She was seriously ill,” he said.

“The ambulance people looked at mum and said, ‘This lady’s dehydrated and it looks like she has a urine infection – has she been tested recently?’ The nurse in charge said, ‘No’.”

After receiving fluids from a drip, Mrs Hunter is now improving at the Western General.

Mr Hunter said: “I have got responsibility to look after my mother. In good faith, I put her into a home. I think it is a disgrace,” he said.

Vivienne Birch, of Bupa Care Services, said: “Staff at the home were assisting Mrs Hunter with her fluid intake and this was satisfactory on Saturday. On Sunday morning, she refused all food and drink and would not allow staff to assist her.

“Staff monitored her throughout the day. Her condition deteriorated suddenly at 1pm so staff called an ambulance, which arrived at around the same time as Mr Hunter.”

A Care Inspectorate spokesman said: “We are continuing to support this care home to make the urgent changes we set out in our improvement notice.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating a number of incidents at the Pentland Care Home.”