Father died just weeks after fall at Mountbatten Lodge care home

Mountbatten Lodge care home, Hemel Hempstead
Mountbatten Lodge care home, Hemel Hempstead

The relatives of old folk who were living at failing Mountbatten Lodge have spoken out after the care home was ordered to shape up following a surprise inspection.

Sisters Sue Jennings and Carol Gardner blame the Hemel Hempstead home in Old Crabtree Lane for the death of their 85-year-old father Raymond Jennings who went downhill after falling out of bed and breaking his femur.

Carol, who worked in the care industry for 18 years visiting people in their own homes, said: “The fall literally finished him.”

Mr Jennings, who before a stroke had lived independently in Abbots Langley taking daily trips out around the village, was discovered at 3am on the floor after cot sides had not been fitted to his bed, it is claimed.

He was lifted back into bed by workers and it was not until midday that an ambulance was called and Mr Jennings was taken to Watford General Hospital.

After being discharged he moved into a Berkhamsted care facility but died just three weeks later on July 23, 2009.

The Gazette’s sister paper – The HeraldExpress – last week reported that bosses at Mountbatten Lodge have been ordered to make improvements by the Care Quality Commission after it failed on seven national standards including care and welfare, cleanliness and infection control and meeting nutritional needs.

Retired Carol, of Grovehill, said that when visiting her father there she often noticed that his trousers were stained and the bathroom was ‘never very clean’.

The daughter did file a complaint with care home operators Quantum Care but said: “At the end of the day it was just too late.”

Carol is calling for government action to put the focus back onto caring for old folk rather than hitting targets and saving cash.

She said: “You can’t rush the old people. They most probably haven’t been in contact with anybody and they are thinking of you as a friend.

“It is time that carers haven’t got anymore – it is all down to money. In the end we lost our dad because of it.”

Another woman, whose father was at the care home from October 2009 to February 2013, became so badly dehydrated while staying there that he had to be admitted to hospital.

Before this the concerned daughter, who does not wish to be named, had taken to washing her father herself after discovering him ‘frequently unshaven and unwashed’.

She said: “Dad was often hungry, especially during the night. These points were raised on numerous occasions with the team at Mountbatten and I was always given plausible reasons.”

Her father now lives elsewhere.

A Quantum Care spokesman said: “We take these comments very seriously. We would welcome the opportunity to hear directly from the people who made them so that we can learn more about their concerns.”