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VIDEO: Family expose 'disgusting' conditions at Lewisham care home

Shocking footage shows unsafe ceilings and claims of rodent infestation
Posted: 12/01/2016 07:04 PM
Copyright: Maureen Bryan
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A CONCERNED daughter has exposed the dire living conditions at a south London care home where her 88-year-old father resides.

Maureen Bryan and her son Omari Bryan - a filmmaker - teamed up to create a seven-minute short documentary titled Life in St Mauritius House – Lewisham after noticing a decline in her elderly father’s living quarters.

In the disturbing footage, which reveals leaky, unsafe ceilings and claims of a rodent infestation, audiences meet residents and their families who each raise concerns about the state of the building and the negligence on the part of Hyde Housing who manage the property.

Ms Bryan, who voices the documentary, says: “Over the last few months I have noticed how distressed my father and the other residents have become due to their current living conditions.

“I am not very good with social media but I felt compelled to act and wanted to give this vulnerable group of elderly residents a voice.”

Mr Bryan added: "The place is in terrible condition with mice, cockroaches, mildew, leaking ceilings.and a host of other problems."

The home, which is comprised of 36 flats, is advertised to cater for the needs of African-Caribbean, Asian and ethnic minority elders, but one resident said she felt “invisible”.

The unnamed elderly woman said: “Over the last seven, eight years it’s been the worst things have ever been because it appears as if we don’t exist.”

Another resident explained he had been forced to go 145 days with no lights in his room and only managed to see at night with the light from a nearby hallway.

From leaky waterlogged ceilings, to severe delays in repairs, more troubling than the disrepair was the evidence of a rodent infestation, which residents claim they had to pay to resolve with their own private funds.

A service user said that she had spent over £100 on mousetraps when Hyde failed to properly rid the property of mice. Another shared that he had caught between five and seven mice in his own space.

One relative of a resident at St Mauritius said she could no longer bring her children to visit their grandmother for long periods of time as the standard of living had declined.

“I would say it’s not fair, it’s not nice,” she said. “I’m sure [Hyde Housing] have the resources to deal with this, if not, they have to find a solution.

“These are people who have helped to build this city and have put a lot of work into the economy and now they’ve retired and I thought this was a pleasurable place for them to peacefully remain but it’s not, it’s causing a lot of residents stress so they really need to pull their finger out.”

The Voice contacted Hyde Housing for a comment and was told by a spokesperson that the footage was “historical” and explained that many of the issues raised in the video had since progressed and been dealt with.

"We are sorry to hear that residents at St Mauritius House have a number of concerns which have taken time to resolve," the formal statement from the company read. "Most of the repair issues mentioned in the film have now been fixed. There are a few remaining repairs which will be completed in the next week."

The Hyde Housing spokesperson explained the "rodent infestation are likely to have arisen due to large scale building works in the local area displacing vermin," but said, "our contractors have worked to try to eradicate the problem, and this week and next week are attending to lay down further bait in common areas and individual flats as necessary".

"Residents will be compensated for any reasonable costs incurred for vermin treatment in their homes during the time it has taken to resolve the current situation. We will make sure we focus effort on ridding the scheme of this problem," they added.

In regards to the elderly gentleman who said he had been without lighting for 100 days, Hyde Housing maintain that a "works order" was raised to replace the light fitting on December 10 and it was fixed five days later on December 15.

"It appears that this related to a leak which was dealt with as an out of hours emergency on 4 September, so it appears there was an unfortunate oversight in carrying out the follow up work," they said. "This doesn't seem to have been brought to our attention previously and we are very sorry that our resident had to put up with this inconvenience.

"Overall the scheme is in good order, but we are committed to making sure that communication with residents is improved."