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Ministers husband 'like a vegetable' after care home stay

by Access Legal


The husband of a Birmingham church minister was left critically ill, severely dehydrated and with stinking bed sores after a two week stay in a city care home.

Dementia sufferer Ruffo Bravette had to spend seven months as an inpatient being treated by the NHS following the £1,960 short respite stay at Sunrise Senior Living, in Edgbaston.

His wife Rev Victoria Bravette, Minister of Northfield Methodist Church, said she found her husband in 'a very poor state' when she went to collect him from the Church Road home. 

She noticed an unpleasant smell when she walked in and was shocked when she realised it was coming from her husband.

She had to take the 58-year-old father of four home by car and called an ambulance. Mr Bravette was taken immediately to Selly Oak Hospital, where he was diagnosed as critically ill. Doctors feared he might not survive.

Rev Bravette said: "I care for Ruffo single-handedly for much of the time, and had taken him to Sunrise for two weeks so I could have a desperately needed break.

"I'd been to see the home and had been impressed, and handed staff five pages of typed notes about Ruffo's routine, his likes and dislikes, and how best to care for him. They had been out to assess him so knew exactly how much care he needed.

"But when I went to pick him up I was horrified; he was in a very poor state, he'd lost a lot of weight and had a huge bed sore. He looked half dead. He could no longer speak to me."

After leaving the care home last August, Mr Bravette had to spend two months in Selly Oak Hospital's critical acute ward, and a further five months at The Sheldon Unit.

"Now, Ruffo is like a vegetable. He does not walk or talk anymore, has to be moved in and out of bed with a hoist, and now requires a specialist wheelchair. Despite his dementia he had a good life, and stayed as active as possible.

"He is unable to tell me what happened to him at Sunrise, but whenever I say anything about it he gets very emotional."  

"Rev Bravette formed the impression when she called to collect her husband that staff had simply failed to realise how ill he had become."
Richard Follis, Access Legal Head of Clinical Negligence

Representing Rev Bravette in a compensation claim against the care home, Access Legal from Shoosmiths head of clinical negligence Richard Follis said: "This is a stark case where the allegation is failure to provide basic care.

"Given his vulnerability he was dependent on staff to ensure he drank fluids, was fed and his pressure areas were looked after. His devoted wife had put her trust in this establishment. She feels utterly let down. Mr Bravette needed help to take a drink, and his severe dehydration on admission to hospital tells its own story.

"Rev Bravette formed the impression when she called to collect her husband that staff had simply failed to realise how ill he had become."

"Later the care home apparently blamed district nurses. One wonders what Rev. Bravette and her husband were paying for? What remained of his capacity to enjoy life - taking walks, shopping trips, a visit to the beach - have all disappeared in two short weeks."

Sunrise Senior Living, which runs care and nursing homes across the country, describes itself as meeting '...the individual needs and wishes of each resident...the rules are yours and not ours'.

Its website says: "Sunrise knows how to deliver care in a way that promotes independence and keeps the dignity of residents. Sunrise staff are carefully chosen and trained; when assistance is required it is given without fuss."


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