Abuse of Vulnerable Adults
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If a family member is being looked after in residential hospital care or a nursing home, you will expect them to be safe. Sadly, sometimes that is not the case.
Residents in hospital care or nursing homes are some of the most vulnerable in society.
Abuse of Vulnerable Adults
Residents in hospital care or nursing homes are some of the most vulnerable in society. Those in residential care range from young adults with mild learning disabilities who need support to live semi-independently all the way to those with the most severe learning and physical disabilities who require 24 hour care. Residents in nursing homes are often elderly with significant health needs or cognitive impairments. The nature of a resident’s age and/or disability often means that they are extremely vulnerable to physical/psychological abuse or neglect.
They are often unable to speak up for themselves or unable to realise (because of their cognitive impairments or learning disabilities) when they are victims of abuse. They may feel unable to report incidents of abuse for fear of reprisals from their abuser. They may be living in a placement where the abuse of residents is seen as normal day-to-day activity and residents assume that it is just something that they have to deal with on their own.
Winterbourne View Abuse Claims
In May 2011, the revelation that adults with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems had been victims of abuse perpetrated by the care workers employed to look after them shocked the public. The Panorama programme, broadcast on 31 May 2011, showed evidence that the residents of Winterbourne View private hospital in Bristol had been the victims of both physical and verbal abuse. In 2012, 11 members of staff were convicted of over 40 offences between them. In June 2011, Winterbourne View hospital was closed following enforcement action by the CQC.
We were instructed to act on behalf of 25 former residents of Winterbourne View to pursue claims for compensation, and were appointed Lead Solicitor for the Group Litigation that followed. All the claims were successfully settled, with the former residents receiving financial compensation. The last of the cases arising from Winterbourne View was successfully concluded in early 2019.
Institutional abuse (such as that which occurred at Winterbourne View hospital in Bristol) can occur where a residential or nursing home/hospital setting is run according to the needs of the business rather than the needs of the residents, and so residents are deprived of free choice and forced to abide by a regime imposed upon them to their detriment.
There are strict time limits for bringing claims - it is important to act quickly
If you think that a family member has suffered abuse in a hospital care or nursing home setting, it is important to act quickly.
If there are allegations that there has been a breach of someone’s human rights, the time limit for issuing that claim at Court is strictly one year.
If someone has suffered an injury (physical or psychological) as a result of abuse, then the time limit for issuing that claim at Court is three years from the date of injury.
Clinton House Abuse Claims
We have been instructed by the families of former residents of Clinton House Care and Residential Home in St Austell, Cornwall after a secretly filmed BBC Panorama investigation broadcast showed evidence of residents being neglected and abused by staff. Panorama sent three undercover journalists to Clinton House following allegations of neglect being made. Two obtained employment as care assistants, whilst a third posed as a resident requiring respite care.
All three recorded video footage of their experiences whilst at Clinton House. The footage showed poorly staffed homes where there were insufficient staff to cope with the needs of the residents (many of whom were immobile and required assistance with personal hygiene), including an incident where a resident was left for so long in their wheelchair that they were incontinent. As well as seeking compensation for the residents, their families have many questions about the care their relatives received and how the situation was able to deteriorate to the situation found by Panorama and subsequently by the CQC.