“We got a call that Dad had ingested bleach tablets a member of staff at the care home was using to wash the floors”

TRIGGER WARNING: Debbie’s video interview and story contain references to the death of a parent and themes some may find upsetting.

Debbie’s own experience of being hugely let down by the health and social care system began when her father developed dementia.

Her step mum Sue struggled to navigate the overly complex processes to access home help. Eventually, her father went into a care home. Living over 200 miles away in Berkshire made the situation difficult and emotional for Debbie.

Debbie shares her experience of supporting her Dad living with dementia and quality care, support and accountability around the death of her father.

“My father had dementia and responsibility for his daily care fell to his wife Sue. I lived over 200 miles away, so there was little I could do.  

Sue really struggled to secure any sort of social care support. Eventually a retired social worker in the village helped Sue access the support that she so desperately needed.   

Dad did struggle with young female workers helping him with his intimate care needs. But eventually the dementia made Dad extremely difficult to deal with and he had to be taken to a care home. 

On reflection, that place seemed so understaffed. When I visited, Dad was often confused, frightened and just wanted to go home.

Then we got a call that Dad had ingested bleach tablets that a member of staff at the care home was using to wash the floors. Eventually after days of being unable to hold down any food or liquids, he was admitted to hospital. I was horrified he hadn’t been taken in straight away. He died eight days later.

Debbie pull out quote

Two weeks after my Dad’s death, I attended a meeting with all parties involved in his care. It was harrowing. Everyone cared more about not being sued than what actually happened to my Dad. 

After a post mortem, the coroner ruled that my father had died as a result of ingesting bleach tablets. At least I got that on the death certificate.    

We can’t allow the health service to not improve because people will not put their hands up and admit when they’ve done something wrong. And that seems to be where we’re stuck.

Despite the pain of losing my Dad the way I did, I do believe that the NHS is a precious resource. It has to be funded properly to ensure that our most vulnerable in society receive the care they deserve.”

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