Glen Heathers: Heartbroken families speak out about ‘horrific’ Lee-on-the-Solent nursing home conditions as they remember elderly relatives

FAMILIES have told of the ‘disgusting’ conditions their family members were left in at a Lee-on-the-Solent care home after it announced its closure earlier this month.

Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 3:28 pm

One resident of Glen Heathers Nursing Home was left ‘looking like a concentration camp victim’, while another’s death has been left unexplained to family members.

The care home announced it would be closing its doors on June 16 after being rated inadequate for the second time by the Care Quality Commission.

A damning report said that investigators found the home to be ‘unclean and cluttered’ with a hole in the floor, and identified ‘unsafe care and treatment’ which left residents at ‘risk of malnutrition’ and ‘pressure sores’.

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Lydia believes her grandmother died due to neglect at the home. A post-mortem found that Peggy had died from an untreated UTI. Picture: Sarah Standing (200522-5987)

Resident Ivor Michael Collins, 80, died shortly after being transferred from Queen Alexandra Hospital to the care home on March 25, 2021.

His 44-year-old daughter Ruth Warlow, a Portsmouth mum-of-three, said she is still fighting for basic information about her father’s death; when he died, how he died, if anyone was with him when he passed, where his belongings went, or where his ashes were scattered.

The family believe he was cremated on April 16, 2021 - but were receiving communication from the care home suggesting that he was still alive on April 22.

Ruth said: ‘I found out he had died when I applied for a death certificate - May 10 was when we found out.

Ruth Warlow is still fighting to find out what happened to her father after he was discharged to Glen Heathers care home without her knowledge and passed away shortly after. Pictured here holding a photo of her late father. Picture: Alex Shute

‘We found out he had moved from the hospital and the text message we received indicated that he was alive.

‘To this day we still don’t know what happened to him. We don’t know if he aspirated - he had a swallowing issue but there were drinks left near him.’

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From what the family understands, Ivor died less than 24 hours after being taken to the care home.

Peggy Gibbs with her granddaughter Lydia Mckay

Ruth, who has worked as a nurse for 20 years, said: ‘I should have been there to hold his hand.

‘I don’t feel like I’ve been treated like a human.

‘Next of kin means nothing - I’m still being denied to find out what happened to my father. It’s disgusting.’

She added that the home closing down ‘doesn’t fix the issues’, and asked: ‘Where is the accountability?

Peggy Gibbs.

‘I worry that the information about my father will just disappear. Am I ever going to find out?

‘I would hope that this would never happen to anybody.

‘It’s the lack of compassion. They dismissed family members as if they were nothing.’

Ivor, who lived in Portsmouth his whole life before moving to Portchester, worked for Sealink, which later became Wightlink.

A keen gardener and talented woodworker, Ivor loved being on boats.

Ruth said: ‘Everyone knew him, he was very respectable - he liked his food, and he loved his grandchildren. A lovely chap’.

Glen Heathers Nursing Home in Milvil Road, Lee-on-the-Solent. Picture: Sarah Standing (070622-9765)

Another resident, 92-year-old Peggy Gibbs, died on May 16, 2020, after seven months in the home.

Granddaughter Lydia Mckay, 38, said: ‘It was horrific, the awful experience I had at that home.’

Lydia said her Nanny had eight or nine falls while she was at Glen Heathers, and that conditions were unsanitary and unsafe.

Despite assurances from care home staff that Peggy was ‘absolutely fine’, the elderly woman had actually lost her ability to walk or even talk.

Lydia said: ‘I used to find her medication on the floor and the staff said it wasn’t an important one, but it was her heart medication.

‘She used to be covered in bruises but we don’t know where they came from. There were cuts on her legs which were really open, and they said they weren’t going to dress them.

‘She was a very proud lady, always kept together and clean, but her decline as soon as I couldn’t get in that home was massive.’

During the lockdown, Lydia - out for her daily exercise - walked past the care home to see if she could spot her gran in the window.

She said: ‘I nearly didn’t recognise her. She looked like a concentration camp victim. My son said “it doesn’t even look like her”. She was in a nappy, she had bed rails up. I knew something was wrong.

‘No one ever said that she was poorly, when I saw her through the window she was just lying there, in the middle of the afternoon but still in her pyjama top and a nappy.

‘It was a total shock to see her in this way and utterly heartbreaking.

‘In the space of a few months, she went downhill really rapidly. I said to the manager that she was skin and bone - I was out of my mind.’

CQC inspectors reported that bed rails were being used without people’s consent, and that there were not always records to show whether bruising to people had been investigated - which the report said is a failure to recognise potential abuse.

After leaving Glen Heathers in an ambulance and spending five weeks in the hospital, Peggy was moved to a ‘lovely’ home in Alverstoke, where she later died.

After a post-mortem examination, it was revealed Peggy had had an untreated urinary tract infection - an ailment she was prone to getting - which led to sepsis.

Lydia said: ‘Her body was collapsing, and no antibiotics were given to her.

‘I know Nanny wasn’t the only one taken advantage of.

‘There are many unanswered questions. The only closure I have got is with the home closing down. I hope that people will be going into nicer homes now.’

Peggy has two daughters, five grandchildren, as well as several great-grandchildren, including Lydia’s three sons.

Lydia added: ‘She was proud of all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a lovely lady.’

A spokesman for the home said: ‘All matters were fully investigated with the relevant authorities and concluded satisfactorily.’

Cuts and bruising to Peggy's leg.
Bruising on Peggy's ankle.
Peggy with her granddaughter and great-grandson.
Lydia says that there were trips hazards everywhere in the home, such as this one she photographed.
Dirty hygiene products were left next to Peggy and on the floor around her.
Lydia McKay (38) from Gosport. Her grandmother Peggy Gibbs died after being cared for at Glen Heathers Nursing Home in Lee-on-the-Solent, which has just been closed down after the CQC found it to be an unclean and unsafe place. Picture: Sarah Standing (200522-5957)
Cuts and bruising to Peggy's leg.
Lydia next to the dirty products.
Glen Heathers Residential Home. Picture: Google Maps
Ruth with correspondence from Glen Heathers which still does not provide any information on her father's passing. Picture: Alex Shute
A broken socket in a damp wall.
Ivor Collins.