A number of families whose frail and elderly relatives have died at a Belfast nursing home have sought legal advice, it has emerged.
It comes as a number of residents at Clifton Nursing Home are being relocated over “ongoing concerns” relating partly to the management of a Covid-19 outbreak.
A recent watchdog inspection prompted an urgent intervention at the 100-bed nursing home which caters for older people with dementia.
A regulator of standards warned patients and staff could be put at risk of harm due to problems surrounding infection prevention.
A spokeswoman for KRW Law said that the firm has been contacted by a number of bereaved families whose loved ones have died whilst resident at Clifton Nursing Home.
One of the families includes that of an elderly man who died recently from Covid-19-related symptoms, the Belfast-based firm said.
The warning signs were there for many years, but it seems the necessary remedial action for whatever reason wasn’t taken.Kevin Winters, KRW Law
The family said that after discovering that a patient suffering from Covid-19 came directly from hospital into the home, they had sought assurances from the facility.
In a statement, KRW Law said: “But within days, their relative tested positive for Covid-19 and he died a short time later.
“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example.”
Solicitor Kevin Winters said: “We understand RQIA (Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority) raised concerns repeatedly about this home and had issued a series of enforcement actions which resulted in failure to comply notices.
“There has been a litany of concerns including those raised by Belfast Trust (the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust) pointing to care falling below minimum required standards.
“The warning signs were there for many years, but it seems the necessary remedial action for whatever reason wasn’t taken.
“That’s simply unacceptable and will shape any legal agitation that needs to be taken, including asking the Coroner for an inquest into the cause of death.
“The troubling landscape that informed the decision to close Clifton will add to the mounting calls for a public inquiry into care homes.”