Please help - safeguarding issue


I could really do with some advice. I’ve been caring for my mum with my dad for around 7 years. Dad is a lot younger than mum and is 80 whereas mum is 92. Back in March, mum was diagnosed with cancer. They think its probably bowel cancer but because she is frail they will not do any investigations, which we agree with. When we asked about how long she might have left, they suggested between 6 weeks and 6 months. Its spread to her liver.

Mum does not want to go into a home and many years ago we promised her this. I reduced my workload a couple of years ago so that I could spend more time at my parents helping, and dad gives me some money to compensate for my lost wages (it doesn’t even come close to compensating but is enough so I can pay my mortgage and bills).

Since her diagnoses of cancer, she has spells of vomiting. Around Easter we called out the locum gp and she was prescribed morphine, which we’ve given following the information from the doctor. Every dose given is written down. She’s now on slow release pills twice a day plus oral top ups if needed.

Around 3 weeks ago, mum woke up covered in horrible spots which remind me of chicken pox spots. The are in a diagnoal line from her left shoulder to her right ankle. I suspect shingles. We were given Fuciden Cream which I put on her twice a day in accordance with the instructions.

Mum has never had any sores or anything like that. She has a hospital bed now. I usually get her up late afternoon as before this she just wants to stay in bed and I don’t believe in forcing her. I wheel her into the living room on her commode.

Anyway, around 10 days ago, our usual nurse who visits once a week was on holiday. Mum took bad with sickness, so we rang the nurses and someone came round. They put a canula in her arm and gave her an anti-sickness drug. Unfortunately, after 12 hours she still had not stopped being sick (green bile) and so they gave a second shot. This did not help either so they administered a different one and finally mum stopped being sick. She was also given injections of morphine at this time as she could not keep anything down. She was very shaky and refused to eat for two days after the sickness stopped.

During the 2 - 3 days of sickness I did not attempt to get her into the living room. When sitting up she complained she fetl dizzy and sick. Food was offered and placed near her but she would not eat - she’s always been the same in this regard. It was shocking to see how much she deteriorated in this time, she also lost a lot of weight.

A young nurse who had visited us before but was not regular, came while mum was still getting over the sickness. We now know that she went back to the surgery and asked a matron to come and look at mum because she was worried about neglect as mum had gone downhill so quickly.

A matron who we had never met before came to see us on Sunday. Right from walking through the door she was critical. What were the spots on mum - we explained a doctor had seen her and prescribed cream. What was she still doing in bed at 12 noon - normal for my mum. Even when I was child she did not get up before lunchtime and I used to take myself to school from 7 years old as she stayed in bed. On finding out that we wheel mum into the living room we got told she should be using a zimmer frame. Mum had a failed knee operation years ago and can’t put weight on one leg. The criticisms continued - we should not be giving morphine as mum does not need it. She even said the Dr was wrong to prescribe it as its highly addictive.

Anyway, turns out she has put a safeguarding report in regarding my mum. Our usual nurse came and said that she has no concerns but this has to be dealt with. I’ve looked up adult safeguarding on the internet and cannot see how it fits with our situation at all. Everything is documented because as soon as there is a problem we get in touch with the medical staff.

What is likely to happen here? Mum has vascular dementia so does not have much short term memory but still knows who we all are. Will they remove mum from us, even though she has always been terrified of going into a carehome or hospital. We are worried sick.

Thank you if you’ve got this far. Any information or advice is appreciated. I’m trying to get my dad to get carers in once a day in the hope this will help smooth things out, but he is worried about being judged. And now this has happened he’s even more worried about this. What a mess. I think she only has a few weeks left and could do without this additional worry.

If you know her name, complain to the Nurses Registration body.

I’m concerned that money is an issue for you.
Is mum getting Attendance Allowance?
Google this. It would enable you to be paid whilst caring for mum.

Thanks for your reply. Money is the least issue. I’m more concerned about what is going to happen. I know that me and dad have nothing wrong. I’m worried she’ll be taken away against all our wishes, including mum’s.

That’s why you need to report her to the Nurses Governing/Registration body.
You can also make a Subject Access Request to her office asking for a copy of everything she has written about you.
Google The Information Commissioner for more information.

Have you now asked the GP to arrange Fast Track Continuing Healthcare?
This is really important, then with their help and support, and nursing care, there can be no question whatsoever of any ill treatment.
My next suggestion will upset you.
Google “Signs of Dying” and you will find lots of really helpful information written by people who have worked in a hospice, about how the body very gradually shuts down. I only found it when my mum, the last of our four parents, was very ill and could not recover. The information I found was very reassuring and helpful, explaining why people who are very ill don’t want much to eat and drink, for example.
Also, consider which funeral director you are going to use, and talk to them in advance. So much easier than when tears are pouring down. I found my husband dead in bed, so I’ve had that scenario.

Hi Mandy,

it sounds like you and your Dad do your very best for your Mum and care for her as she would like to be cared for. You also have all the information to back up what you are saying.

If the young nurse who was concerned about neglect reported her concerns - then that would have to be investigated and this was the role of the matron. It sounds as if she did this in a very insensitive way. She will be expected to write a report. I’m not sure how safeguarding works in health. However, you have the full support and backing of the regular nurse and GP - who should also be consulted and contribute to a safeguarding review.

I agree with BB, you Mum needs to be assessed for Continuing Health care and this should be fast-tracked.

Have you spoken to the GP about what has happened?


Thanks for all your replies.

I will Google about signs of dying. Some days I’m surprised she’s still here. She eats almost nothing now. She’s always loved cups of tea and since yesterday she just asks for water. We still give her tea but she says she’ll have it later and even though we prompt her she doesn’t drink it. I must’ve thrown 10 cups out yesterday.

My friend told me that the hands going black / mottled is a sign and this is happening.

The Dr. is coming today. We’re waiting for him now.

Thanks again. We could do without this worry right now.

Some doctors don’t know as much as they should about Fast Track Continuing Healthcare.

Once they apply, it should all be arranged within 48 hours. It’s a different procedure for people not in mum’s situation.
I had to get VERY firm with my mum’s GP to get it done. Sadly, too late for it to be of use.