Haringey investigates possible ‘organisational abuse’ in dementia care

'Barbara' was found in chaotic and dirty conditions. Photo: BBC London

'Barbara' was found in chaotic and dirty conditions. Photo: BBC London - Credit: Archant

Haringey Council has launched an enquiry after an 81-year-old dementia patient was discovered living in squalor.

“Barbara” had “painfully overgrown” toenails and faeces smeared on her home walls in a BBC London expose.

Care workers are launching an enquiry into why she was found in these conditions.

“The safeguarding process is looking at a number of potential areas which may include self neglect, neglect and organisational abuse,” a report said, which was overseen by Beverley Tarka, director of adult social services and read out at a Haringey Council scrutiny panel last Tuesday.

“However these are potential areas and at present there is no clear evidence to state that any of these areas of abuse have taken place...

“The case is unacceptable, and as soon as the lady’s circumstances were brought to my attention, the council began a number of steps to deal with the matter: we increased her care packages and arranged for the property to be deep cleaned.

“It is right that we now investigate further.”

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Care workers say they are considering options for Barbara’s future care.

Either they will support her in the community, or she will be moved to residential care.

They are also holding an investigation under the Care Act.

“This enquiry will help ascertain the views and wishes of the service user where it is possible to do so, to establish the facts of what has happened and to make recommendations for what actions need to be taken next,” the report said.

It is unclear whether the findings of the investigation will be made public.

Haringey Council intend to share information from the enquiry with the adult and health scrutiny panel in the summer.

A spokesman for Haringey council said: “We work hard to ensure that the care and support provided to Haringey’s residents meets their assessed needs, keeps them safe, and is in line with their wishes. In this case It is quite clear that the standard of care provided to one of our residents was completely unacceptable. We have acted swiftly in ordering a review with our care provider, Extra Mile. We are now ensuring that she receives the best quality care in the most appropriate setting.”