Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton widow told husband was abused at care home

Kenneth Savage Image copyright Savage family
Image caption Kenneth Savage suffered bruising to his face and arms and a wound to his arm that is too graphic to be shown

A widow says she wants "justice" after a council said her husband suffered abuse at a care home.

Kenneth Savage, 87, stayed at Mulberry Court in Luton while his wife Jessie had surgery in February.

Paramedics who saw him the day before he died wrote a safeguarding report that noted he was "covered in bruises around the face".

Luton Borough Council wrote to say its inquiry confirmed "abuse did occur". It told the BBC it would meet Mrs Savage.

A spokesman for the care home said she was unable to comment on individual cases "but we are very assured that the new management team have worked hard to ensure the high standards of care we expect are delivered as standard".

Mrs Savage said: "The family are in bits and now I've got this letter - it says he was abused and neglected.

"I just feel I need to get something done. If it's not for Ken's justice, it's for others."

Image caption Jessie Savage said she needs "justice"

Mr Savage had kidney failure, dementia, Parkinson's and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and had been cared for at home by his wife.

When she needed hip surgery, the council found him a place at Mulberry Court, a residential care home.

During her visits she found him with bruises on his face and arms and a wound on his arm that was not adequately dressed, she said.

"I looked after him for seven years and he never had a mark on him like that," she added.

"He kept saying he kept falling out of bed."

She alerted staff to his shortness of breath and saw a GP at the home on 15 March.

Paramedics were called later that afternoon when his symptoms worsened.

He died in hospital the next day of aspiration pneumonia, which is caused by food getting into the lungs.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Mulberry Court in Luton is run by Runwood Homes

Mrs Savage said the home lost his teeth, which led to problems eating.

"He was going downhill and they didn't even notice it," she said.

Luton Borough Council wrote to Mrs Savage in October to say it had reviewed records to "ascertain the quality of care and prove/disprove the allegations raised".

It added: "The inquiry finds that on a balance of probability, the allegation of neglect and act of omission against Mulberry Court is found to be substantiated.

"I conclude that abuse did occur to Mr Savage."

It made recommendations to Mulberry Court, which included that it reviews its falls policy and that staff receive regular training and supervision.

Mulberry Court was rated as inadequate in the Care Quality Commission's latest report in July.

A spokesman for Luton Borough Council told the BBC it carries out annual service reviews of care.

"When a provider is found to have shortcomings we support them to ensure that any shortfalls identified are rectified," he said.

"There are formal processes in place for us to take further action if no improvement is made and this includes placing embargoes on homes taking new residents."

A spokesman for Mulberry Court said: "We take the care of our residents very seriously and as such have worked in partnership with the local council in Luton to ensure quality care provision is maintained throughout the service.

"As a residential service we aim to provide person-centred care at all times and act in the best interest of all who share our home."

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