By Charlotte Webster-
Norfolk County Council has been criticized by the local Ombudsman, after one of their care worker told the wife of a man she was looking after that he was sleeping , oblivious of the reality she was already dead.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman ordered Norfolk County Council to pay the distressed woman £500 by way of compensation and issue a sincere apology from the director of adult services. The error was of grave proportions. Ombudsman’s investigation revealed that Rigor Mortis had already started to set in when the woman found her husband dead in his chair. The dead man’s name has been withheld for legal reasons.
The care worker, whose identity is also being protected, had only moments earlier wrongly informed the woman that her husband was sleeping. The woman, who had slept separately from her husband the fateful night because of the level of pain he was in, having been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The woman also faced a drawn-out complaints process, in which she was required to recount events to five separate officers.
The investigator’s report read: “Mrs X’s injustice is two-fold. She had the shock and distress of finding her husband dead whilst she was alone.
“She then suffered additional frustration and distress at having to pursue a complain about this.”
The ombudsman ordered Norfolk County Council to pay Mrs X £500 by way of compensation and issue a sincere apology from the director of adult services.
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “This sad case arose due to the failures of a care provider which is no longer in business.
“We have apologized to Mrs X in writing for the shortcomings in our handling of our investigation and have agreed with the decision to compensate her.
“This is one of a number of outstanding complaints being considered by the Ombudsman which will be released over the next few months. The council has already taken steps to address the underlying issues involved.”
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