West Sussex, UK- The Orchard View Nursing Home in West Sussex, England is facing allegations of rampant abuse and neglect which led directly to the deaths of five residents with the potential number of victims totaling nineteen.
The Telegraph reported that the nursing home left residents malnourished and thirsty. Staff members falsified medical records.
During an investigation, the West Sussex coroner found cases in which residents were given the wrong medications and one woman died as a result of an overdose.
Coroner Penelope Schofield, said, “There was institutionalised abuse throughout the home…this was from the top down completely mismanaged and understaffed and failed to provide a safe environment for the residents.”
Schofield’s investigation discovered Jean Halfpenny, 77, died of natural causes related to an overdose of Warfarin, a blood-thinning drug. She also found that following Halfpenny’s death, staff at the facility falsified medical records and even destroyed evidence.
Family members of patients and former staff members have said that patients were underfed, left in soiled beds and often had unexplained bruises.
Former staff members also said that the facilities hiring practices left it understaffed and patients who called for assistance were often ignored.
On one occasion, a staff member said to another, “”They are old and they are dying, what do you want me to do?” the Telegraph reported.
Schofield said that the five residents had died of natural causes but their deaths have been “attributed to neglect.” The patients who died are: Mrs. Halfpenny, Wilfred Gardner, 85, Margaret Tucker, 77, John Holmes, 85, and Enid Trodden, 86.
She criticized Orchard Grove for putting their profits above the welfare of their patients. The whistleblower who shed light on the neglect and abuse, said she was instructed by managers to “fill the home.”
An additional 14 deaths are being investigated for “sub-optimal” care but is not able to prove their deaths can be directly attributed to neglect.
The Orchard Grove closed down in 2011 after the rash of deaths, but is now being operated under a different name. The new investigation has put a spotlight on Southern Cross, England’s largest provider of care services, which declared bankruptcy in 2011.
Many are shocked that the facility, which opened in 2009, was able to operate for two years without any detection that were serious deficiencies occurring in the home. It was given high ratings by the Care Quality Commission, an industry watchdog group.
Schofield also raised concerns that many of the people working at the Orchard View home are still working in the industry and they are not at other facilities where they can perpetuate the abuse and neglect.
The U.S. has a similar problem with nursing home facilities; many patients are ignored, abused and neglected. Neglect and abuse has long term affects and in the worst case lead to a patient’s death. A nursing home abuse attorney can help individuals whose loved ones have been harmed in a nursing home seek compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured.