The family of an 83-year-old dementia sufferer have hit out after he was attacked by another patient at a care home and left with broken ribs and a fractured skull.
Frail Tony Thompson suffered a head injury at the mental health unit where he had been a resident for just 12 days.
However, the grandfather-of-three was not taken to hospital until his wife Jean and daughter Claire Thompson visited him the following day.
It was the final straw for his family, who had seen his health decline steeply in the few days he spent at the facility in Leeds, West Yorks.
Claire, 47, has now spoken out after being angered by the care her father received at The Mount and a lack of support for families of dementia sufferers.
The experience has damaged Tony so much, the father-of-one will never return home to Jean, his wife of 53 years, and now has to live the rest of his days in care.
Housewife Claire, their only child, received a phone call at around 10pm on April 18, 2017, saying her dad had been attacked by another patient and had suffered a head injury.
She was informed staff had seen another patient assault her dad, he had fallen over and sustained a head injury, but there was no visible damage and he appeared okay.
But when Claire saw her dad the next day she was “heartbroken”.
She said: “He couldn’t lift his head up, it appeared as though there was something wrong with his neck, he was drooling and he couldn’t speak.
“We had to ask for a wheelchair because there was no way he was going to walk out of there. He could hardly move.
“We managed to get outside, where we had a taxi waiting, when we realised this was no good. He needed to go to hospital.”
The family feel guilty the only reason he ended up at the hospital, run by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, was because retired tailor Jean, 76, wanted two weeks rest to visit her sister in Lancashire.
Despite being willing to pay for him to be in a safe, clean and secure environment for respite care, the family could find no such service.
When they appealed to the NHS, Tony was assessed and told he would be going to The Mount.
Mum-of-three Claire said: “My dad was a different person 14 months ago.
“He worked in menswear all his life and would never be seen without a suit. He has suffered with dementia now for ten years and it does take his toll on us.
“We are a small family but we work hard to look after Dad. He could still look after himself but was very forgetful.
“But when my mum decided to visit her sister for two weeks we struggled to find any respite care, which is ludicrous when we live in a big city.”
While Jean visited her sister, Claire went to see her dad every day and was horrified to see he was being targeted by other patients.
Claire said: “I could see there was a lot of violence and the staff didn’t do anything about it.
“I would walk around with dad on my visits and a couple of times I would have to intervene because another patient was approaching us about to punch my dad.
“He is only 5ft tall. He wasn’t bullied or anything. It was happening everywhere.
“My dad was tripped one day and he went flying, really damaging his knee. Because he was then unsteady on his feet he would keep falling on it and re-damaging it. It was horrendous.”
As time went on, Claire realised she needed to get him out – he was due to come home when he was attacked the night before.
Claire said: “My dad left there unable to walk and talk and in severe pain, he was covered in bruises. He was only there for 12 days.
“After being taken to St James’s University Hospital we were devastated to hear the extent of his injuries. They told us Dad was very poorly.”
Tony’s family have since struggled to find a place for him to stay that has acceptable standards.
His deterioration in health now means Tony needs 24/7 one to one care.
Claire added: “I have fought and fought because I do not want my dad to stay somewhere like The Mount, where I feel he would be in danger.
“But the real problem is funding. This care costs.
“My dad worked hard all his life, he was a great character – full of life – he was born with nothing and made a success of himself.
“He was a body builder in his youth and travelled around the world.
“He is a brilliant dad and generous to a fault. He deserves good care.
“The care for dementia patients is shocking. The Government really needs to get planning for the future as more and more people are diagnosed with dementia.”
Tony stayed in St James’s Hospital for four months – he broke his arm while he was there because his level of care was reduced and he was left on his own.
In August he was taken to another care home in Bradford but was admitted to Bradford Royal Infirmary in February this year with a chest infection.
The family then fought for a place in a better dementia care home.
Just last week Claire got a phone call to say they had been allocated a place at Vida Hall, in Harrogate, North Yorks., a specialist residential care home for dementia sufferers.
Claire said: “We are looking forward to Dad going there and getting him back. We want him out of a hospital gown and into one of his suits.”
Joanna Forster Adams, Chief Operating Officer at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our patients and we were sorry to hear the concerns of Mr Thompson’s family.
“We are keen to listen to families and carers about how we can improve, and take all concerns very seriously. We will make direct contact again in order to investigate further.”