Nursing home problems, how do I complain


My Dad has been in his new nursing home for around 5 months. I have seen a gradual decline in the staff numbers and several staff members have admitted that they are struggling to recruit new staff, then when they do people don’t stay. There are a few wonderful members of staff that are on a very low wage and have told me that this particular home does pay them a low wage so people leave.
I visit my Dad every 2 days and he is never shaved, is frequently laying in a wet bed, does not have his squash put back next to him where he can reach it, and a host of other problems. He is always thirsty when I visit so I get him to drink as much as possible when I am there. I’m not sure when he is ever showered and his hair is not washed regularly. My Dad’s health is declining and he has been in hospital 3 times in the last 5 months with a urine infection and pneumonia.

I have not yet spoken to the manager about my concerns as I guess I keep hoping things will get better. The trouble is I feel that unless I visit my Dad every day [to check on him, shave him, get him drinking more, clean him up a bit more] that he is not being well cared for as they just don’t have enough staff to meet his needs. I don’t feel that I should have to visit every day to do a lot of the things that the home is being paid to do. If I could have my Dad at home and look after him myself, then I would do that. It is just not possible though.

Dad is part funded so I guess I would have to speak to his social worker if I wanted to try to move him to another nursing home. I would also have to find the money [around £400 - £500 a week] to top up to the level of what the other nursing homes would be asking. My problem is is that it is a lot of money and would it necessarily be any different? I am beginning to see that a year down the line into this journey you will only be presented with the good bits when looking at nursing homes. How on earth do you find out if they have enough staff or if the staff are happy as this is what makes the difference, not the fancy furnishings etc.

I am in a real dilemma. My Dad is on a slow decline but has been for a couple of years now, and moving him would be hard for him I feel as he would have to get used to new people again. However it plays on my mind that ‘I know’ his current home has staff problems and when I visit him and find him laying in a soaking wet bed, it is very upsetting. I don’t want this to be my Dad’s ‘ending’ even if I do end up visiting every day to try and make it better which takes a lot of time away from my own family. I don’t think that I should be in a position where I feel I ‘need’ to visit every day to make sure he is getting the care he needs.

Please, if anyone has any advice from having their loved one in a nursing home, or how to complain, I would be grateful for a reply.


Please, if anyone has any advice from having their loved one in a nursing home, or how to complain, I would be grateful for a reply.

AGE UK … the acknowledged experts in this field :
How to complain about a care home | Age UK

Problems with a care home ?

If you’re not happy with your or a friend or relative’s care home, there are steps you can take.

I assume that CHC / NHS Continuing Healthcare is not a consideration here ?

oh dear, I feel for you and your dad.
I suppose one angle on the situation is the more that you do for your dad, and the home knows you are doing it, the less in fact they will do. but the issues you raise, i.e. not drinking enough, laying in urine, could lead to serious health issues.
personally I would have to start by talking to the manager. if nothing happens I would put it in writing. then if still nothing happens I would speak to social worker and whoever is funding his care.

I can understand your reluctance to do this, as fear of recriminations is always there. but unless these things are talked about the worse it will get. good luck

Thanks Chris and Pamela xxx

I have tried to get Dad CHC funding, but he didn’t qualify. I had forgotten that maybe Age UK could be helpful. I will give them a ring.

I hate confrontation, but sadly Dad is not able to complain himself. He is in hospital at the moment again and I almost feel a sense of relief as I feel he is better cared for. He really is at the stage where he is one step away from being in hospital all the time with his repeated chest infections and pneumonia.

He had another CHC assesment a few months ago but has worsened since then. Can I push for another one? or do I have to wait 6 months? I’m just not sure.

Your welcome.


No time like the present ?

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Write a list of EVERYTHING you are concerned about, and then ring the Care Quality Commission on Monday.

This standard of care is truly terrible. CQC can do a spot inspection if they feel it is necessary, then the home will not know who reported them. Please, please, speak up, not just for dad but for all the other residents, especially those who have no one to speak up for them.

Have you looked at the CQC website to see if they were already concerned about this home? It’s really easy to do.

Your father’s care home should have a written complaints policy (a legal requirement) available for you to see. If it’s part of a large group, then this may well be online and you can look at it there.

Please make your complaint, both on behalf of your father and other residents (if things are that bad, then it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be the first one to complain!).

Ask for a meeting with the manager and make your preparations - print off any correspondence, write down your concerns and questions and take a notebook to record their answers. There should be NO repercussions just because you have “dared” to complain.

I am currently pursuing a serious complaint with the parent company of my mother’s care home, plus lesser complaints with the manager. Neither adhered to their published complaints policy, so I persevered. It now turns out that I have not been the only one complaining - the “sister” care home to my mothers (same site, different building, secure dementia unit) has recently been rated as inadequate by the CQC following complaints by relatives and staff. Relatives have now been called in to a meeting relating to my mother’s care home where the CQC and local authority monitoring services will be in attendance - I’m dreading what we may be told, but feel that at least my complaints have been vindicated.

It would also help investigators if you could keep a brief diary of dates of visits, the state dad was in, who you spoke to, date, time etc. so that there can be no denials.

Sorry, I forgot to say take your phone/camera with you and take photos each time you visit. A picture tells a thousand words.

Also consider chatting to any other relatives you see at the home. Even accidentally on purpose stay in the car park until you see someone else arrive.

Start a conversation by saying, “Hello, my dad is X and he’s staying in Room Y…” Later you could say I’m a bit concerned that dad isn’t always shaved…" and then wait and see what the reply is.
(This all comes naturally to me, I’ve always had jobs which involved talking to complete strangers!)

You seriously need to talk to the Manager and let them know you are watching and if the care level slips at any point, you will be on it, mention the CQC.

People on this site are bored of my story, so I will abridge it, My poor Mum left in a dark room without her TV and no drink within reaching distance…for 12 hours a day. When I visited she was gagging for a drink and begged me not to leave…

You need to know that when you are present, the carers will put on a façade to make out they are brilliant. The second you leave they will ignore your loved one…