A grieving daughter is demanding answers following the death of her elderly mum – who died in a care home after contracting coronavirus.
Ruth Gibson, 54, is seeking answers surrounding the care given to her mother in the months and weeks before her death – after watching her health deteriorate rapidly over Skype.
The care home, run by South Lanarkshire Council, told The a full investigation was carried out in line with the Social Work Resources Complaints Handling Procedure, and no issues with the level of care were found.
They added that two days before her death Mrs Gibson was visited by medical staff, who reported no concerns about her health.
However, Ms Gibson said she first began to notice her 93-year-old mother’s declining health during the second wave of the pandemic, noticing significant weight loss in November.
Ms Gibson shared that her mother, Anna Gibson, was struggling to stay upright in the chair while they were on Skype, would regularly fall asleep mid-conversation, and had started drooling.
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She also noticed black marks around her mouth, lips and chin – and said her mum had become very drowsy, unable to eat or even swallow her medication.
Ms Gibson has claimed these concerns over her mother’s health deterioration were dismissed and she was told the problems were likely caused by her mother’s isolation – but she believes her mum was already showing signs of the virus.
Staff at Meldrum Gardens, Lanarkshire, were said to have arranged visits for some families to see loved ones through windows – but Ms Gibson claims she nor her sister were invited.
Then, during a second outbreak of Covid-19 in the care home, Anna Gibson tested positive on the November 14.
Anna Gibson, who died aged 94
It was at this point Ms Gibson was allowed a ten-minute visit with her mother.
Ms Gibson said: “At this point I was really concerned for my mum – the staff seemed to dismiss my concerns and said the symptoms were pretty regular for Covid-19. They said she would rally round.
“When I went in to see her I was shocked to see her in person.
“I wasn’t allowed to go near her – but I could see she wasn’t able to even move. Her eyes were staring at the TV but didn’t seem to be registering, her body was still but her lungs were gasping for breath she couldn’t even look in my direction.
“Once again I was told she would ‘pick up’ and it was just part and parcel of the virus.
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“I was concerned and asked the staff for assistance over and over again. But they kept saying we weren’t at that stage yet. I accepted what they were saying.
“When I left the home that day I passed rooms that had their doors closed with signs on either saying the occupant was infected.
“I was so traumatised at what I had seen I allowed myself to be influenced by care home staff who minimised mum’s condition.”
Sadly, Mrs Gibson died later the same day, aged 94, at the care home.
Since her mum’s death Ms Gibson has been searching for answers and sought help from the Care Campaign For The Vulnerable, led by founder Jayne Connery.
Director of Health and Social Care, Val de Souza, said: “Everyone at Meldrum Gardens was very saddened by Mrs Gibson’s death. She was a very well-liked resident, and all our thoughts and condolences go to her family – indeed these were passed on at the time of her death.
“Mrs Gibson appears to have been very happy while living at Meldrum Gardens and we are clear that she received very good care there. Her health care was overseen by her GP and other health and social care professionals.
“Although Mrs Gibson tested positive for Covid shortly before she died, this was a precautionary test following the positive result of a member of staff.
“The national advice at the time was that care home residents should only be subjected to testing, which is quite invasive, if necessary.
Anna Gibson (below). Her daughter, Ruth, is now seeking answers
“Mrs Gibson was 94, and despite her positive Covid result, her death was unexpected – indeed just two days earlier she was visited by medical staff who reported no concerns about her health.
“Following a complaint by the family, a full investigation was carried out in line with the Social Work Resources Complaints Handling Procedure. This found no issues with the level of care provided.
“The council also met with the family and Care Campaign for the Vulnerable to discuss their concerns.”
Ms Gibson has now instructed solicitors at Slater and Gordon in a bid to find out more.
Hannah Seignior, Litigation Executive at Slater and Gordon, said: “With care home deaths accounting for around a quarter of all UK deaths linked to Coronavirus we have a duty of care to reflect on and analyse what has gone wrong to cause such tragedy and how we can prevent it recurring in the future.”