Tuesday 21 November 2017
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Council criticised over malnourished care home patient

A council has been criticised after an elderly woman was left "severely" malnourished during her stay in a care home.

The unnamed patient lost a third of her body weight while living at Murdoch House Care Home in Wokingham.

The woman, in her nineties, who has aphasia, arthritis and osteoporosis, entered the care home in 2010 weighing just under ten stone (61kg).

By 2013, her weight was just six-and-a-half stone (41kg).

Vulnerable woman

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) criticised Wokingham Borough Council for failing to take action to address the weight loss.

The watchdog heavily criticised the care provided for the woman who left the home malnourished, and with a Body Mass Index of just 15 (government guidance says a healthy BMI is 18 to 25).

It also criticised the care home's record keeping, and that staff did not seek specialist support for her low weight.

Dr Jane Martin, of the LGO, said the council neglected its duty to the family, leaving a vulnerable woman to suffer.

"In this case the woman was bored, lost a considerable amount of weight and her wellbeing was not promoted".

'Below standard'

The council admitted the woman's weight was of concern and offered the family £500 compensation.

Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner said: "We are profoundly sorry for the poor care provided in this case, and for the distress this caused our care client and her family.

"The care she received was below the standard we expect from our care providers and we apologise that we did not identify these problems".

Wokingham council has since been asked to pay the mother of the patient £3,500 and the patient's daughter £500.

A spokesman from Murdoch House said the patient lost a "substantial" amount of weight during time in hospital and that she was regularly reviewed by a GP when back at the home.