This is a serious breach of care. It seems care home staff and a UK city council spent a severely disabled man’s money on things that weren’t for him – and lied to his family about it.
Ian Reeves was a resident at Marston Court Care Home, Leicester, from 2007 until he died in February 2021. His next of kin, sister Sharon McConnell, developed serious concerns about the care he was receiving and how his money was being spent after their mother died in 2018.
She found that his bedroom was bare and he was sitting in a broken wheelchair, so she asked for control of his finances – but was refused.
So she applied to the courts to become a deputy – with the council retaining the role of appointee – and this was granted. Then she requested information on what had been done with his money.
She found that thousands of pounds had gone into and out of his bank account over the years – being spent on women’s and children’s clothes, cosmetics and toys he could not use.
She also found her wheelchair-bound brother’s money had been spent on Zumba classes and chiropody, which she also found strange. The council told her the Zumba classes were specially adapted and he enjoyed taking part.
There was much more (see the source article – link below – for details). Ms McConnell wanted more information but was frustrated by the response, so she urged the council, the police, the Care Quality Commission and the ombudsman to carry out their own investigations.
The police and the CQC very quickly backed out. The council concluded the home had mismanaged her brother’s finances and that more than £1,500 of his money was ‘unaccounted for’.
It ordered the home to apologise, pay the missing money back and carry out a review of its policies for managing residents’ finances. But the home did not accept the council’s findings and claimed the spending on Zumba classes, clothing and toys all met Ian’s needs.
Both Marsden Court and the council have been found guilty of failing her brother and maladministration by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
The ombudsman concluded both the council and home mismanaged Ian’s finances. Its report, which refers to Ian only as ‘Mr C’, highlights a catalogue of mistakes by both organisations.
Ms McConnell has been offered apologies and £500 in compensation – to make up for the loss of thousands of pounds.
But bosses at the home, while acknowledging they had to learn lessons on good practice from the case, have said they don’t recognise other concerns that had been raised.
They said the home had received a clean bill of health from the Care Quality Commission (which had backed away from investigating, remember) and the council (which had admitted failings) and other professionals regularly visited the home and viewed Ian’s room.
That’s where this story ends. But it raises questions about the care of other severely disabled people at homes around the UK – the most obvious being the following:
How many other people have received – or are receiving – the same or similar treatment to that received by Ian Reeves?
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