Family Begins Legal Action Against Verwood Care Home Following Father’s Death

Specialist Medical Negligence Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell Investigating Care Standards


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

The devastated children of an elderly man who died shortly after being admitted to a hospital in Bournemouth have instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their concerns regarding the care their father received whilst staying at the Waypoints care home, Verwood.

Paul Cunningham, who suffered with Alzheimer’s disease, was a resident at the care home between October 2012 and April 2014 before being transferred to Bournemouth Hospital where he died on 21 April 2014, aged 81.

Between July 2013 and March 2014, Paul, who had been diagnosed with diverticular disease, a condition which can cause abdominal pain and disturbance of bowel function, suffered a series falls while staying at the care home, resulting in a number of serious injuries, including breaking both his left and right femurs.

In April 2014 Paul's health began to deteriorate with lethargy, sickness, and being off his food. On 20th April, Paul collapsed with severe abdominal pain, a high temperature, and was unresponsive, so an ambulance was called.

On arrival at Bournemouth Hospital a CT scan revealed that Paul had a perforated bowel, which had not been treated, and had developed into peritonitis. The family were told nothing could be done, and could only watch him die in terrible pain over several hours.

His daughter Jackie Kiernan, 53, from Christchurch, and her brother Alan Cunningham, 57, have instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care their father received during his time as a resident at the specialist dementia care home, which is operated by Waypoints Care Group Ltd.

An investigation conducted by Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group in September 2014 found that elements of basic mandatory training for staff at Waypoints in Verwood were not current.

An inspection of the care home by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in September 2014, shortly after Paul’s death, found residents were not always protected from the risks of unsafe or inappropriate care and treatment, as records were not always maintained and completed effectively, with gaps in two residents’ bowel charts, of up to four days at a time recorded.

Rebecca Brown, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton office representing Paul’s family, said:

Expert Opinion
“The Dorset CCG’s investigation into the Waypoints care home in Verwood, which highlighted staff had not received up-to-date training, is extremely concerning.

“We are now investigating the care Paul received and if more could have been done to understand his changing care needs and to implement measures to reduce the number of falls he suffered.

“Ultimately, we hope to provide his loved ones with the answers they need concerning the standard of care he received so that any necessary steps required to improve the services the care home offers to residents can be taken.

“Sub-standard care of vulnerable elderly people should not happen, but sadly we regularly see instances where the reasonable standard of care, which loved ones expect, is not being provided.”
Rebecca Brown, Solicitor

Paul’s daughter Jackie told her legal team that she had serious concerns about the care plans put in place for her dad, who suffered with diverticular disease, which required a high-fibre diet and careful monitoring of his bowel movements.

Unfortunately after her father's death, Jackie found that Paul's stool record charts had not been maintained, with gaps for days at a time.

Jackie said: “My dad was entitled to a reasonable standard of care and to be treated with dignity and respect.

“Sadly, his needs were not taken into account and as a result he continued to try and stand up and move around which led to five separate falls. Waypoints were aware of the duty of care to manage dad's bowel disease, and we believe they failed to do so.

“Our family believe the substandard care dad received led to the health complications he endured in the last few weeks of his life and that’s why we have instructed lawyers to investigate.”

If lost a loved one due to fatal negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.