While we are relieved to know that things have changed considerably since our relatives suffered so tragically at Lynde House nursing home, we would ask residents of Lynde House (see comments from Barbara Sheppard immediately below) to consider the following:
  1. No one has yet accepted responsibility for the appalling suffering endured by our mothers, fathers and grandparents while at Lynde House, and, until we are provided with some satisfactory closure in this case, we cannot be expected to remain silent;
  2. We wonder whether you have considered that some of the improvements that you confirm you now enjoy might not be yours if we had not fought to bring the negligence to light (this including at the request of one of the signatories of your letter) and continued to pressure for changes.
Auriol Walters, Lynde House relatives support group, Twickenham, Middlesex 10.10.06

Many of the residents in Lynde House nursing home today are concerned that the unfortunate events referred to (How FOIA opens care  homes  to
public scrutiny
) are having a very upsetting and
ative effect on us as well as our relatives and staff.
  We would like to point out that our home is now managed by a totally new company and we have a highly trained and very experienced manager, with the support of an equally well-trained and efficient care services manager and staff.
  They are well-liked and respected. Lynde House is a friendly and happy environment in which to enjoy our latter years.
  We would very much appreciate some understand-ing of the concern and upset continual reference to those issues cause. Can we ask that some positive coverage will be given to the latest report and the life in Lynde House today.
Barbara Sheppard and ten others, Twicken-ham, Middlesex 08.09.06

New Century Group Holdings operates many care homes of which Beechwood care home is now one (How FOIA opens care homes to public scrutiny).
  Our group purchased Premier Nursing Homes (which operated Beechwood) on July 28 this year. The management staff of Beechwood itself has changed.
  As the entirely new managers and owners of Beechwood, the article has come as a considerable shock. We are, as a group with a good record, extremely concerned as to our reputation and we are particularly concerned that our residents and, just as importantly, their families and loved ones, are not distressed by stories which might appear to reflect the current state of affairs.
  The most alarming and serious complaint featuring in the article from the relative of a resident was that there was an outbreak of scabies.
  While upholding a complaint relating to a failure to administer correctly a prescribed cream, the regulator said that the resident had received appropriate treatment.
  The relative claimed that the outbreak “was a major factor in her mother’s death five months later.”
This was not the subject of the investigation.
  While the article does state that the regulator confirmed the appropriate treatment had been given, the tenor of the article is inevitably alarming.
  My concern is the impression that will be left with residents (who are often confused and highly vulnerable) and their relations is that there are continuing problems, notwithstanding the positive report referred to following the unannounced inspection by the commission for social care inspection (CSCI) in March this year.
  The treatment and care of elderly, vulnerable people suffering from the afflictions of old age, such as dementia, is exceedingly difficult and the inevitable deterioration in those approaching the end of their lives is sometimes extremely distressing for close and loving relatives.
Jenny French, operations director, New Century Care, Sidcup, Kent 29.08.06

I am worried about “care” homes that cater for people with dementia, the most vulnerable people in our society, who cannot speak for themselves. Who would believe them against the management and the staff?
  The home where my mother stayed recorded that she punched someone in the stomach four times: would you stand there and let yourself be punched in the stomach four times? It doesn't ring true. It is my belief that it was a ruse to get the psychiatrist (who didn't visit), via the community psychiatric nurse (who didn't visit), to ask the GP (who didn't visit) to prescribe a chemical cosh for her.
  She might have been stroppy, but I had never witnessed her hitting anyone, and my own staff cared for her at home (prior to her going in the home) without incident. During the second week of her stay she was in the beginnings of dehydration and toxicity, which would have caused unusual behaviour.
Maisie Trotman, Bodmin, Cornwall 23.08.06.

Like Eileen Furbank’s mother, my beloved 82-year-old mum was in a ‘care’ home. The fees were £2,000 a month in 2002. My mother was rushed to hospital with severe dehydration and malnutrition; she had rotting, necrotic bedsores.
  The home deliberately concealed all this. CSCI, which regulates care homes, requested nine separate components of documentation on my mum's care at the home, but the home failed to provide it (an offence under the care standards act 2000).
  During a heat-wave when the temperature was 32C, my mother was given one tablespoonful of fluid in 14 hours, and, on another day, one tablespoonful of fluid in 24 hours. No attempt had been made by care workers to reduce the heat in my mother’s room, even though she was becoming increasingly dehydrated. Her internal organs were starting to shut down.
  My mother’s medication was tampered with from within the home, ie not by a GP, pharmacist or other medical professional. My mother lost one and a quarter stone in a few weeks, although the care workers always deny this.
  My mother’s GP confirmed that she would naturally have presupposed a normal dietary and fluid intake when prescribing any drugs. My mother was receiving in excess of nine drugs at any one time, including two diuretics, which were trying to expel fluid that was not being replaced. ‘Morning’ had been added to ‘night’; dosages doubled; etc, etc. Even the diuretics were increased by person(s) unknown. CSCI said it did not know where this alteration came from.
Delia Sedgwick, Chingford, London

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