By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
A Nottinghamshire man was left ‘devastated’ after being banned from seeing his mother after he raised concerns about her being hurt by another resident in her care home.
Mark Smith, 59, had raised serious concerns about the care of his mum Teresa in 2018 at Nottinghamshire County Council-commissioned Berry Hill Park Care Home in Mansfield.
He said his mother had been harmed by another resident, leaving her with bruises.
Now, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found the care home at fault for the way in which it banned Mr Smith from visiting the home and therefore seeing his mother.
The home and Nottinghamshire County Council have apologised and the council has offered to pay £650 in compensation, which Mr Smith says he will not accept.
Mrs Smith later died in hospital in April 2019, aged 82.
Mr Smith, a former sales director from Mansfield, said: “There were more and more incidents of her being distressed so I put an official complaint in.”
Mr Smith said following an argument which took place in the home with a relative over moving his mother out, he was barred from visiting by staff.
He said: “I was incredibly distressed and fraught; I didn’t see her for over six weeks. It was devastating.
“I knew my mum’s health would decline without me because I am a familiar face.”
Mr Smith was allowed to return to the home in September after complaining to the CQC [Care Quality Commission].
He said: “It was markable to see her distress and I still feel very guilty.
“It is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing at night.”
Mr Smith now plans to take legal action against the home and the council. The Ombudsman’s report details multiple complaints he made about his mother’s care, including that she did not always have access to water, was often in soiled or wet clothing, and was left to urinate in public places.
He and his mother were not identified by name in the Ombudsman’s report but Mr Smith said he wanted to speak publicly to the Local Democracy Reporting Service to highlight the impact of the case.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “I welcome the council and care home have accepted my recommendations and hope the training that will be put in place will ensure no other relatives are unjustly discriminated against in future.”
A spokesperson for the home said: “This incident occurred back in 2018 and the actions of the team at the time were not in line with our process of responding to family concerns. Put simply, barring a family member from visiting a home is not something we ever want or seek to do.
“We deeply regret and apologise for this historic situation which in no way represents the care provided at the home today, or the kindness and compassion of our team. None of the staff involved in the previous incident continue to work at the home.”
Melanie Brooks, Corporate Director for Adult Social Care and Public Health at Nottinghamshire County Council, apologised for the “distress and frustration” to Mr Smith.
She said: “We will work with care providers to ensure the recommendations are carried out and the correct procedures are followed before a person can be excluded from a care home. We will also remind our own staff about the importance of telling people the outcome of safeguarding investigations as quickly as possible and ensuring that follow-up actions are recorded and completed.”