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Investigation launched after Leeds pensioner who sold home to fund care is abandoned for 15 hours

Lily Latham.

Lily Latham.

Is this the reality of 21st century care? This disabled 88-year-old was left in bed for 15 HOURS because of failures in her home care.

Lily Latham was found sobbing the following morning after being unable to get out of bed to go to the toilet or get a drink.

The private home care firm involved and Leeds City Council are now investigating this and a number of other problems.

As the Yorkshire Evening Post tells her story, a charity for older people warns that social care has been “stripped to the bone”.

“Any bit of dignity I had has gone.” That’s how Mrs Latham describes being forced to stay in bed for 15 hours because of problems with her home care.

The disabled pensioner was put to bed at 6.30pm – instead of around 9pm – meaning she was unable to get up to go to the toilet or get a drink.

She was found in tears the following morning by a carer who comes to visit at 10am.

Mrs Latham, whose care is provided by a private firm contracted by Leeds City Council, said: “I felt uncomfortable and all my dignity has gone. I don’t like being in bed for all that time. It’s not good for anybody.”

Since the Yorkshire Evening Post took up her case, council social workers have been out to see her twice and the care firm, Housing 21, is investigating.

The grandma-of-one, from Rothwell, Leeds, has been having home care visits from Housing 21 for around 10 years and sold her former home to pay for her care.

She is unable to stand or walk without help and relies completely on carers to get her up and put her to bed, make her meals and also take her shopping once a week.

Mrs Latham, who worked for her late husband’s firewood business before retiring, said she’d had several issues with the care service.

Recently she has had a number of different carers, visits had been made at the wrong times as two were rolled together and at least twice she had been put to bed at tea-time.

A spokesman for Leeds City Council said they were concerned and a member of the social work team had visited Mrs Latham.

“Subsequent to that visit and after discussions with their senior management team, we are confident that Housing 21 will fully investigate and address the concerns raised by Mrs Latham, and will ensure that she receives services to her satisfaction which are delivered to the high standard we expect from all of our service providers.”

Meanwhile, a charity says funding for social care cannot keep up with demand.

Age UK said social care had been “stripped back to the bone as local authorities have come under increasing financial pressure”.

Speaking about the problem in general, a spokeswoman for Age UK Leeds said: “As a consequence, not only have services been forced to restrict care to only those people with the highest levels of need but they are also having to tightly ration help for people who do qualify.

“The core of the problem is that funding for social care has failed and is still failing to keep up with growing demand. Legislative reform is vital but pointless unless sufficient funding is in place.”

A report on home care by national watchdog the Care Quality Commission last year found concerns about visits being cancelled or delayed. To comment on Leeds City Council-commissioned services, call 0113 222 4405.

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SOCIAL CARE UNDER PRESSURE - CHARITY

Funding for social care cannot keep up with demand, a charity says.

Age UK said social care had been “stripped back to the bone as local authorities have come under increasing financial pressure”.

Speaking about the problem in general, a spokeswoman for Age UK Leeds said: “As a consequence, not only have services been forced to restrict care to only those people with the highest levels of need but they are also having to tightly ration help for people who do qualify.

“The core of the problem is that funding for social care has failed and is still failing to keep up with growing demand. Legislative reform is vital but pointless unless sufficient funding is in place.”

A report on home care by national watchdog the Care Quality Commission last year found concerns about visits being cancelled or delayed.

To comment on Leeds City Council-commissioned services, call 0113 222 4405.

 

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