Nursing home neglect leads to death of Grandmother

Nursing home neglect

07.09.2006

A 95-year-old grandmother died after a string of major failings at one of Bupa's private nursing homes.

Charlotte Woods had a care plan, but staff failed to consult it. Their negligence included using the wrong hoist to lift her and only one person, who was inadequately trained, looking after her. The confused and disorientated pensioner was eventually injured after she fell and fractured her shoulder while being lifted back into her wheelchair after a bath.

To compound the problems, this accident was not immediately reported and having initially insisted she was fine, Mrs Woods was wheeled into the lounge and given a cup of tea. She was only taken to hospital after complaining of shoulder pain later that day. And it was in hospital that she contracted pneumonia, partly as a result of medication to help her breathe and died four days later.

Nursing home injury due to breach of Health & Safety at Work Act

Although the post-mortem concluded the fracture was a "secondary cause of death", the systems in the care home were clearly unsafe and breached the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Since the incident in November 2003, Abbotsleigh Mews Residential and Nursing Home in Sidcup, Kent has corrected its various shortcomings, ensuring workers not only consult a patient's care plan before bathing and using a hoist, but making it more readily accessible.

Oliver Thomas, regional director, Bupa Care Homes, has now apologised to the family of Charlotte Wood and accepts that in this case they failed to meet their own high standards.

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