North Lincolnshire Council has been told to pay at least £1,150 to a couple after “excessive” delays resulted in a husband staying in a care home for six-months longer than he should have.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman also told the council to apologise to the pair and review contributions they had paid to ensure there were no overpayments.
The couple, known as Mr and Mrs X, arranged for the husband, who has dementia, to stay in a care home for a short while in January 2018, after he wandered from home and his wife found she needed support with his care.
They complained to the Ombudsman over lost paperwork and a delay in carrying out an assessment of the husband’s care and support needs. They said they were caused “significant distress”.
The complainants said the stay was initially supposed to be a week, but the Ombudsman said there had been no evidence Mr X wanted to return home until August 2018.
Despite this, a series of delays meant Mr X did not return home with a care package until June 2019.
A report by the Ombudsman said “Overall, the Council took 10 months [from August] to assess and put a care package in place for Mr X to return home.
“It is inevitable it will take time for a council to complete an assessment, care and support planning and put the care package in place.
“But 10 months would be excessive in most circumstances and particularly as Mr X was unhappy in the care home and wanted to return home.
“In the circumstances, I consider it would have been appropriate for the council to have taken no longer than four months to allocate to a social worker, complete the assessment, care and support planning and put the care package in place.”
The council acknowledged to the ombudsman there had been delays. On one occasion it said it could not carry out some assessments when they met with Mr X in October because he was “tired from completing” another examination.
North Lincolnshire Council has been asked for comment.