Widow’s anguish over lack of records about husband’s Covid-19 care home death

The widow of a man who died amid a Covid-19 outbreak at a Skye care home has branded its operator a “disgrace” over a lack of documentation.

Colin Harris died at Home Farm Care Home in Portree on May 6, days after he tested positive for coronavirus.

His wife Mandie then requested a copy of his notes as she wanted to know what happened “for reassurance and closure”.

But operator HC-One replied with an apology, saying there was a gap in Mr Harris’s log and only records up to March 28 could be found.

Mrs Harris said: “All I got from HC-One was 33 pages of A4 paper with not a lot of writing on any of them.

“Colin was a resident there for four years and that’s all they have – it’s a disgrace.

“From my own reading of the Care Inspectorate’s reports from that time, it was pretty chaotic in that home when Colin and the others tested positive for Covid.”

She added: “I needed to know Colin’s care had been carried out in a dignified way.

“I needed to know his care plan was being looked at and followed. I needed reassurance, maybe closure.

“But now I find out that the home doesn’t have any care records for him for the whole of April. It makes me feel angry and heartbroken.”

According to official figures, nine other residents died in quick succession after testing positive for Covid-19 at the care home.

A total of 30 residents and 29 staff tested positive for the disease during the outbreak.

The apology letter said her late husband’s care notes could not be located “despite a thorough search of the premises”.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has now written to Police Scotland and the Care Inspectorate over the issue.

She said: said: “Record-keeping is of paramount importance for residents and families at all care homes and this is an appalling failure which has denied a family their right to know what happened to their dying loved-one while they were not able to be at his side.

“It’s devastating for this family – this has to be looked into.”

The Care Inspectorate took Home Farm to court over its care provision before dropping the case after improvements were made.

The home has since been bought by NHS Highland, financed by the Scottish Government.

Mrs Harris is among families pursuing potential legal action against HC-One.

A HC-One spokeswoman said: “The challenges Home Farm faced in the spring of this year are well known and we are clear that the standards at that time were not at the level they should have been.

“We have apologised to all families connected to Home Farm for this and to the Harris family specifically in relation to Mr Harris’s care.

“Given the proposed legal action regarding this home it is not appropriate to make further public comment at this time.”

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