THE provider of a care home has apologised "unreservedly" after staff were secretly filmed neglecting a 98-year-old woman. Oban House in South Croydon featured prominently in a BBC Panorama investigation, aired on Wednesday night, into poor standards of care for the elderly. It included distressing footage of Yvonne Grant crying out to staff for assistance 321 times in a single hour. "Oh please nurse, come," she can be heard to plead in the recording taken on a secret camera by Ms Grant's granddaughter in December 2012. When the great-grandmother's pleas were finally answered, the staff member refused to take her to the toilet, instead telling her to use an incontinence pad. After later returning, staff try to make her walk to toilet without the use of a hoist, before roughly dropping her back into bed in disgust and turning the light off to the room. When they leave again, Ms Grant says: "Oh, this is wicked this is. Please let me use the toilet. Please." Two and a half hours after first asking for help, another member of staff took Ms Grant to the toilet. She died around a month after the footage was taken. A consultant nurse told the programme Ms Grant had been subject to "emotional trauma, dehumanisation and physical pain". "This is a type of assault, but not the type of assault people understand," she said. An investigation by Croydon Council later ruled her treatment amounted to "neglect" and "institutional abuse". Last July two staff were convicted and sentenced to 20 week suspended sentences and 150 hours community service. One is appealing. Vanessa Evans, Ms Grant's granddaughter said: "On the surface [Oban House] looked smart, but when you go there for a while you begin to see the cracks. "I would go in there and she would start crying. She told me she didn't want to be there anymore. "When I saw the video I was devastated." HC-One, which took over Oban House when Southern Cross went bust in 2011, said the recording showed "shocking and distressing failings". A spokesperson said: "We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour. We apologised unreservedly to the late Ms Grant and her family, and we remain deeply sorry for the distress that was caused. This should never have happened. "As soon as we became aware of the situation we acted immediately to notify the Care Quality Commission, the local safeguarding team and the police. We suspended and later dismissed the staff involved. "We carried out a full investigation and acted quickly to implement a range of actions including improved training programmes, investment in the home including specialist equipment, and greater promotion of our independent whistle-blowing helpline. "The health, safety and wellbeing of our residents is our number one priority." Oban House cares for around 50 elderly people, including those with dementia. It was given a clean bill of health by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in November 2013. In another home featured in the investigation, this time in Essex, staff were shown taunting, roughly handling and even slapping a resident. One staff member has been sacked and seven others suspended. Norman Lamb, the minister for care and support, said the images "turn your stomach" adding that the investigation made a case for the use of cameras in care homes.
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