The family of a 90-year-old man say they found someone else’s clothes mixed up in his belongings after they were returned following his death (Picture: Iris Nickson/Care Campaign for the Vulnerable)
The family of a 90-year-old man say they were given someone else’s clothes and false teeth when his belongings were returned by his care home eight weeks after he died.
RAF veteran Raymond Nickson had been living in Swallowfield Gardens Care Home in Bolton before passing away in hospital from coronavirus on October 5.
Daughter-in-law Iris Nickson claimed when his belongings were dropped off in plastic bags two months later, another resident’s ‘unlaundered and smelly’ possessions had been mixed up in the delivery.
She also alleged the dementia patient’s condition had deteriorated after he was placed in the home on August 18.
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Mrs Nickson, 50, further said her father-in-law was assaulted by another resident within 24 hours of arriving after being moved from the Moorside unit at Trafford General Hospital in Manchester
But the care home said today it has ‘robust’ Covid-19 protocols, 24-hour nurses on site and supports residents with ‘complex health needs’.
Mrs Nickson said: ‘My father had recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia and he was terrified when he went into the home.
‘His care plan said he needed a quiet, calm environment
RAF veteran Raymond Nickson pictured before his move to Swallowfield Gardens Care Home in Bolton in summer 2020 (Picture: Iris Nickson)
Raymond Nickson in a video call with his family following his admission to Swallowfield Care Home in Bolton
(Picture: Iris Nickson)
‘When we got there it was a building site, they were building flats adjacent to the property and they were doing electrics and plastering on upstairs floors used by the care home.
‘He was assaulted within 24 hours of arriving by another resident and no ambulance was called. It took them seven days to contact a local GP and that was after I contacted safeguarding at Bolton Council.
‘Bolton had gone into local lockdown 10 days before, they weren’t wearing masks, gloves or visors when the lockdown began.
‘I’ve had two safeguarding meetings and sent countless emails to the care co-ordinator, I’ve gone through the hierarchy like I’ve been told, but I’ve got nowhere.
‘Then we get the clothes back eight weeks after my father-in-law’s death.
‘The member of staff came and left them in bags by our front door while she stood at the end of the drive for social distancing.
‘They were unlaundered, smelly and it was distressing to go through and find someone else’s clothes and teeth.’
The personal belongings which the family of Raymond Nickson say also contained someone else’s possessions (Picture: Iris Nickson)
The daughter-in-law of Raymond Nickson says his belongings were dropped off in plastic bags after his death (Picture: Iris Nickson)
Raymond, a keen Manchester United fan, retired at 61 after working as an administrator for local engineering firms.
The father-of-one’s mental health had suffered since 2005 when his wife, Connie, died while they were on their annual holiday in Tenerife, and he had been in the care system from that year onwards.
His place was commissioned by Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust and jointly funded by the local council, Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council.
Mrs Nickson, a retired teacher from Timperley in Manchester, said they had battled in vain to have him moved to a provider nearer their home, and even considered re-mortgaging their own house to pay for a private place.
Mrs Nickson became governor for Trafford with the Trust in 2017 in her attempt to get answers about the care system.
She said: ‘My dad was a keen gardener, a keen golfer, he played cricket for the village team and he was an all-round nice guy.
‘He did his national service in the Royal Air Force and contributed hugely to society, yet this is how they treat him.
‘We’re devastated that someone who has given so much can be treated in such a disrespectful way.’
Raymond Nickson and wife Connie in happier times (Picture: Iris Nickson)
The Care Campaign for the Vulnerable, which is supporting Mrs Nickson, described the mix-up as ‘disgraceful and unforgivable’.
Director Jayne Connery said: ‘Care Campaign for the Vulnerable raises awareness on dignity in the care of our elderly and how important it is for families when residents pass away that their valuables and possessions are returned to their family in a respectful way.
‘Families often report loved ones’ prized possessions put in black bin liners and many treasured belongings missing on collection.
‘Iris told us how devastated she and her family were when her late father’s belongings arrived after waiting two months and realised a bag containing clothes and dentures belonged to someone else.
‘This is a disgraceful and unforgivable action causing unnecessary distress to a family already in grief.’
The daughter-in-law of Raymond Nickson is seeking answers over the care provided to the RAF veteran in the final years of his life (Picture: Iris Nickson)
A spokesperson for the care home said: ‘Swallowfield Care Centre supports people with complex mental health needs and has a challenging behaviour unit for people with dementia and behaviours that can challenge.
‘Many of our service users have complex health needs and complex risks.
‘When a new service user comes into the care centre it can create existing service users to be slightly agitated, and small incidents can occur in this settling in period.
‘In this instance a scratch was made from another service user to the new service user.’
‘An ambulance was not needed and there are 24-hour nurses on site, local authorities and CCG were aware of this incident.’
The spokesperson added: ‘In our care centres we have robust Covid-19 protocols, and the relevant PPE within each centre.
‘Staff have had the relevant training, and are aware of the necessity of wearing PPE within the care centres.
‘During the outbreak only two service users contracted Covid-19 and it has remained that way since the outbreak.
‘We thank everyone at this extremely difficult time for understanding the current epidemic, and the restrictions this puts on the care centres, in relation to the return of personal belongings, now that families are not able to come to sort and collect these.’
Metro.co.uk has also approached the Trust and council for comment.
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