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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71153
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My mum is a the carer for my dad, who has Alzheimers/Dementia

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My mum is a the carer for my dad, who has Alzheimers/Dementia and is bed-ridden. He cannot get out of bed un-aided, and is doubly incontinent. Private Carers three times a day. About 7 weeks ago, one of the carers (they always work in pairs) made an 'accusation' she had found my dad's legs 'tied' up with a black strap (the strap in question is part of the electric bed device). The Care Agency immediately reported this to Social Services as abuse, who began an investigation. They had not at the time got statements from either Carer. After 7 weeks of waiting (my mum's blood pressure is sky high, and she has a spinal tumour herself), they have said they are taking no further action, as there is 'insufficient evidence'. Social Services are now trying to wriggle out of things, but my mum wants an apology for this accusation. What do you think, as surely they can either say they didn't think she did anything (which she didn't), or they do think she did something (and have 'insufficient evidence). Is this slander?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Is there any reason you think it would be? They acted upon a report made in good faith?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, there is no reason. But shouldn't they have got their facts straight (ie statements from accusors, maybe photos, before they leapt in. As it is, they didn't get statements until 4 weeks after the 'event'. My mum is very proud, and she has lost 7 weeks of sleep about this. Surely they can not make accusations, and then just be 'let off the hook'?

PS I really consider the management of the Care Agency to blame, but I don't think Social Services should have leapt in so quickly, as now apparently the statements say the cable was 'lying on the bed' ... The Social Worker had initially talked about 'tied' and 'knots' ...

Well, it depends.
Obviously they cannot make allegations knowing that they are false but that isn't what they have done.
If they have received a report which may have been misconceived but was made in good faith then they are under a duty to investigate it which does appear here to be all they have done.
You seem to accept that his legs were tied up with a strap. The fact that there is a reasonable explanation for that doesn't make the report untrue or without basis. The reasonable explanation you have offered is what has led to the matter being dropped.
The fact that you have such an explanation does not mean action can be taken against them though I'm afraid.
Sorry if that is bad news.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We certainly do not accept his legs were tied up (apart from anything else he is not able to get out of bed unaided, and has guard rails up!) I think the Carer was badly trained. The Social Worker initially used the words 'tied' and 'knot', the Carer did not log it, photograph it, make a statement about it, or draw it to my mum's attention, and then when she eventually did make a statement (after 4 weeks) it talked about the cable lying on top of the bed. When the Social Worker first attended, and reported on the phone call she had taken (but prior to any written report the Carer had made) my mum asked the social worker if the words 'tied' and 'knot' had specifically been used, and the social worker said that they had.

You said above that the strap was part of the electric bed.
In any event, this is not slander. Even if it were a badly trained carer, that would not give you a cause of action.
She made a report upon reasonable grounds which ultimately turned into nothing. They are under a duty to do so and social services must investigate.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well, I have to say, whilst it may not be slander, it was an inaccurate 'accusation'. All my mum is seeking is an apology (as she is very proud, and knows that 'mud sticks') from the Agency (who incidentally she is paying a great deal of money to). Maybe I shouldn't have used the word 'slander' as it possibly suggests she is out for financial recompense. I suppose the alternative is not to pay a team of 20 individuals into your home, in order to keep your elderly relative out of NHS beds. Surely, if it were a criminal case and the police were involved, they would have had to have got their facts right before accusing someone of 'harm'?

An allegation has been made upon reasonable grounds so there is no wrongdoing on the part of the accuser.
Social services had to investigate upon receiving the allegation so there is no wrongdoing.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not by Social Services, no, but by the Care Agency surely.

No. I am sorry.
They received a report and had to investigate it.
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