Regulator criticised after woman assaulted in care home
- 23 April 2012
- From the section Health
The Care Quality Commission is being criticised for failing to take sufficient action after undercover filming showed an 80-year-old woman being slapped by a care worker.
Jane Worroll secretly filmed her mother's room in Ash Court, London.
She recorded care worker Jonathan Aquino slapping her mother six times.
Aquino was convicted of assault. The CQC said the home still "ensures people who use the service are protected from abuse or the risk of abuse".
Prior to the assault, the CQC had rated the home as "excellent" .
Alarm clock camera
Ms Worroll placed a secret camera hidden in an alarm clock in her mother's bedroom, after suspecting she was being mistreated.
Maria Worroll suffers from Alzheimers and arthritis, and requires around-the-clock care.
Six weeks after her mother moved into Ash Court, Ms Worroll noticed bruises on her arms and legs.
She secretly filmed her bedroom on 17 and 21 June 2011.
The footage, acquired by BBC Panorama, shows care workers feeding Maria Worroll too quickly, manually rolling her over and hauling her roughly into bed - an action that should have been performed using a hoist.
Ms Worroll also filmed one care worker, Jonathan Aquino, slapping her mother six times.
She was deeply upset by the footage. She told Panorama: "[My mother] is just so vulnerable; she can't get up, she can't call for help. [The assault] is just totally sadistic."
All five of the main carers Ms Worroll filmed were sacked. Jonathan Aquino was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison in April 2012.
Forest Healthcare, which manages the home, say the assault was an isolated incident, and that Ash Court is "committed to working closely with all families and residents" and that they receive positive feedback on their care, which is subject to "continual improvement".
Forest Healthcare has no connection to Forest Care Ltd which operates homes in Hampshire and Surrey.
The CQC visited the home twice following the assault to assess the quality of care. It concluded: "Ash Court ensures that people who use the service are protected from abuse, or the risk of abuse, and their rights are respected and upheld."
Ms Worroll said she felt let down by the inquiry. She told the BBC: "When I read [the report] it was just another slap around the face. I just felt like they'd basically given [Ash Court] a clean bill of health again, bar two minor adjustments.
"It makes me worry for other people who are potentially about to put a relative into a care home."
Judy Downey, head of the Relatives & Residents Association, a charity that supports care home residents and their families, also criticised the CQC report.
She said: "It doesn't say that a member of staff has been charged. It is not an honest document, it isn't a helpful document.
"This is really an area where the CQC can do so much if it uses its powers. They can actually cancel the provider's registration if they're shown not to be fit. We would suggest that that provider was very clearly shown not to be fit."
The CQC told Panorama in a statement that its report into Ash Court made clear a "serious incident" had taken place. It visited again recently, and said that it was "confident" it had "acted swiftly and correctly in light of the evidence" available.
A spokeswoman from the Alzheimer's Society said: "Any case of abuse against a person with dementia is absolutely appalling. The most vulnerable people in our society should be treated with respect and dignity.
"Our care system in the UK is broken and underfunded. In this context, it is not surprising that there is sometimes inadequate support and abuse.
"We need to have a debate on how to ensure appropriate care is in place for people with conditions such as dementia. We also need a regulatory system in place focused on supporting care homes to actively improve standards."
Panorama: Undercover Elderly Care is on BBC One, Monday 23 April at 20:30 BST. Watch online afterwards (UK only) at the above link.