Home care bills keep on coming for dead grandmother
GRIEVING relatives say they have been left distressed by demands from the council for home care payments after an elderly grandmother's death.
Distraught daughter Lynne Lewis has received invoices for more than £1,300 relating to her mum, Winnie Cooper, even though she was not even living at her Brentry home during the period the bills relate to. And despite making half a dozen phone calls to the council's finance department trying to resolve the mix-up, Mrs Lewis has been left with a pile of papers and a final, revised bill of £751.30 she is adamant is wrong.
Mrs Cooper, 78, suffered from Lewy Body dementia, epilepsy and was partially blind. When her health deteriorated she moved out of her home on Dorester Close to Wellhay care home, Southmead, last November 18.
On December 16, she moved to Chatsworth House in Redland, where she passed away on February 15.
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The care diary logged by carers who visited her at Dorester Close was last filled in on November 18. But despite this, in June, Mrs Lewis received a letter with four invoices attached to it, saying she owed £1,366.
They referred to June-July 2011, for which she has kept a payment receipt, stamped by the council, and a full month's bill of £341.50 for July-August, despite Mrs Cooper being in respite care for 10 of those days.
Mrs Lewis became even more confused when she read the invoices asking for close to £700 for mid-November to February 5, while her mum was in the two care homes. The bill for those – £1,412.68 – has already been paid.
But the final straw came last month when Mrs Lewis received "confusing" letters she believed were asking for £614.70 for home care from March to June, after Mrs Cooper had passed away.
However, the council says these were in fact credits, not invoices, referring to the over-charging from November to February.
But Mrs Lewis, her brother Kevin, 50, and Mrs Cooper's grandchildren have all been hugely upset by what has happened.
Mum-of-three Mrs Lewis, of Birkdale, Yate, said: "I think it's disgusting. We had to fight for our mum to get care in the first place and now they're trying to charge us for care she never had.
"I just don't understand what's wrong with them. I keep telling them they've got it wrong, but they don't listen.
"Trust me, I know where my mum was from November – I've written down all the dates in my diary – and I know when my mum died.
"How many more times have they charged us when carers didn't see her and how many other people have they done this to?"
The 52-year-old, who is a cleaner, dinner lady and youth worker, added: "I just think it's awful and I don't know what's going on with it.
"Whether we owe some money, I don't know, but I know that from November until mum's death in February, she wasn't at home and I have receipts showing we paid for her time at Wellhay and Chatsworth."
A city council spokeswoman said: "We apologise for the anxiety this has caused at a very difficult time for the family.
"There were clearly issues and there are lessons for us to learn, so we are reviewing the files and will be providing them with a full explanation of how we arrived at the final balance.
"We are happy to discuss this with the family in detail, so we can reassure them the correct charges are being made."