A DAUGHTER feared her elderly father had suffered an overdose after he was mistakenly given a cocktail of powerful sedatives and painkillers by his carer.

Headington-based Acquire Care Ltd provided palliative care for now deceased Peter Parsons over the course of 11 days in October 2018 – 11 days that his daughter, Melanie, now describes as ‘traumatic’.

Ms Parsons had raised serious safeguarding concerns following a catalogue of failings involving her father’s care, the most serious of which saw her vulnerable 86-year-old father given the sedative Midazolam in a glass mixed with the pain killer morphine.

The medication is intended to be given intravenously over a sustained period of time or by injection by a qualified nurse only when Mr Parsons was at the end stage of life – not to be ingested as a single shot.

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In a damning report the CQC labelled the incident a ‘serious meds error’, while this week Oxfordshire County Council adult social services revealed it is currently investigating the incident and has suspended its commissioning of Acquire Care Ltd’s services.

Ms Parsons, who is yet to receive any explanation or apology from bosses at the care firm, said she just wants to know why the carer opened the bag of ‘end of life’ medication, ‘cracked open the vial of Midazolam’ and gave it to her father.

Remembering the night on October 10, she said: “I was worried; I was panicking.

“I knew it was for injection – it was anticipatory meds.

“It was very worrying. I didn’t know what sort of effect it was going to have on him.”

Ms Parsons found her father, who was also on prescribed medication to lower his heart rate, passed out unconscious in his bed an hour after being given the cocktail of drugs, and immediately called the care company for advice.

She added: “I was worried in case it could be fatal, I just went into a sort of automatic mode.

“First, I called Acquire Care and she told me to call 111 - she didn’t know what to say to be honest.

“I thought he might have overdosed.”

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Her father, a former worker at the Museum of Oxford, eventually awoke from his drug induced state and seemingly showed no lasting effects of the carer’s potentially dangerous error.

Though he died six days later with the cause of death given as lung cancer, there is no suggestion the carer’s mistake played any part.

Ms Parsons added: “I certainly don’t blame them but in my opinion they didn’t help.

“I would like to know why the carer did what they did.

“I would like to have answers and I would like something done about it.”

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has revealed they were notified by Acquire Care bosses of the death of a person using the service, however, the company’s report failed to mention the ‘serious meds error’ which had happened just days previously.

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The health watchdog’s report on Acquire Care also states that bosses worryingly failed to notice that the staff member responsible for the medication error had also disclosed they had carried out similar practices with another person.

This was not investigated further and management were unaware of it until it was pointed out by the CQC.

However, Ms Parsons said the shocking error was just one incident in a string of failings by the firm during the short period they looked after her dying father.

She said: “I would find tablets on the floor and in his armchair because they weren’t watching him to make sure he was taking them.

“He wasn’t being washed properly, he wasn’t being fed.

“It was traumatic, it was a kind of trauma, constant worry and trauma and it was almost non-stop.

“When you get a carer in you kind of take a breath and think at least somebody’s coming in, they’ll call me if anything happens, and you think they’re being looked after, but he just wasn’t.

“I just hate to think this could be happening to someone else’s parents.”

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An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said the matter is currently being investigated by the safeguarding team and that it was working with Acquire Care to help improve service delivery.

The spokesperson added: “We ceased commissioning new packages on a temporary basis in February this year, due to concerns raised during our contract monitoring and as a result of other concerns received.

“This action was taken before the publication of the CQC report and we will review this position once the outcome of the work undertaken by our safeguarding team is known.”

Acquire Care Ltd did not respond to a request for a comment.