Near miss incident - should I complain to care company

Just back from Mum in Law’s … lifeline rang just after 10pm, asking if we could go down as she was “stuck”. Got there to find her bedtime carer had left the porch light on, and MIL in her independent way had tried to get out of bed to switch it off. Luckily she only managed to swing her legs out and sit up, but couldn’t reach anything to pull herself up as she cannot weight bear, never mind walk. We asked what she was planning to do … she wanted to pull herself into her wheeled commode, then shuffle herself out to the front door to switch off the light, then back to the bedroom and put herself back to bed. There was no brake on the commode so even getting into it would have been impossible and she would likely have ended up on the floor. As it was, she was sitting there on the bed, unable to move … mind is strong but the body is weak, shivering in her thin nighty and on the verge of tears. She couldn’t even swing her own legs back into the bed, so me and hubby had to shuffle her back in and get her comfy. I hope its a lesson learned and dread to think what could have happened, particularly as she hangs her lifeline tag on her bed at night and refuses to wear it round her neck … could have been on the floor all night, freezing cold, broken hip, head injury … I was annoyed that she had even attempted to try it, but more annoyed that a simple mistake by the carer had lead to such a possibly serious issue …

I was going to complain by email as soon as we got home, but the care company’s website is down for maintenance and I don’t have their email address. Planning to call them tomorrow, as feel they should log this as a near miss, but hubby is saying it will get the carer in trouble and its his mother’s stupidity and stubbornness that she couldn’t just ignore the light so put herself in danger.

Any thoughts on where I go with this please?

Does your MIL have a hospital bed with side panels that weren’t in the raised up position? If she had one of those and the sides had been left down, I would remind the agency to put them up before leaving.

No she hasn’t got sides on her bed as she has not been assessed as a risk. She is considered to have mental capacity and I think she would still past the tests for that, but she is just so determined that if she wants to do something she will try.

I rang the care agency when I got home, said I wanted to record it as a “near miss” as consequences don’t bear thinking about and it would have been one of their staff who would have discovered her lying on the floor or worse when they called first thing this morning. The Manager said she would record it on mum’s file and not single out the particular worker who did the bedtime call last night, but make sure all that cover mum’s round were aware of it. I said I think we read the riot act to mum and hope she took it on board. I asked if either the morning or lunchtime carer had reported anything about this and she was going to check back with them to see if mum had said anything. Chances are she was either too embarrassed to admit it to them, or has completely forgotten as she does tend to do lately. The Manager said part of their caring role is to remove or reduce issues that might have an impact on their clients, so this is definitely something that should not have happened. I said it was probably a genuine mistake and something we could have done ourselves, but can’t bear to think of how serious it could have been.

I am happy that it has been recorded in case anything similar happens in future.

It sounds like you handled things well and the manager understands your concerns.

Wow, very to hear what your MIL has just gone through. So good to hear that you were able to help her in time.

I think you did the right thing in reporting the incident. We all need to be held accountable for our actions. I agree, probably a genuine mistake but she will now be more aware and possibly more attentive to avoid this in the future.