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Heartbroken Family Call For Improvements At Berkshire Care Home After Tragic Death Of Their Father

Irwin Mitchell Investigating Woodbury House Care Home after Maggots Found In Pressure Sores


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The heartbroken family of an 89-year-old man are taking legal action after their father died following ‘the worst case of neglect’ nurses had ever seen at a Berkshire care home after his foot was found to be infested with maggots.

Alan Church, from Reading suffered from dementia and was admitted to Woodbury House Care Home, in Berkshire in July 2014. Until Christmas that year, he seemed to be settling in well but in the New Year the care home came under new management and Alan’s family quickly noticed a change in their father as his condition and general well-being declined rapidly.

His room which was once clean was filthy, Alan was unkempt and on one occasion his bed was soaked with urine.

The father-of-four was admitted to The Royal Berkshire Hospital in July 2015 and diagnosed with over 10 deep grade four pressure sores (the most serious grade), maggots were found breeding in the tissue on his foot. He was severely malnourished and severely dehydrated.

He also had a toenail missing which had been pulled off by staff at the home as they tried to get him out of bed. The family say that nurses treating Alan in hospital described it as ‘the worst case of neglect’ they had ever seen.

His family have instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care and treatment given to Alan during his time as a resident at Woodbury House Care Home.

Following Alan’s death, Wokingham Borough Council carried out an investigation and their safeguarding report concluded that there was neglect by omission in relation to the care provided to Alan.

Police, working with the Adult Safeguarding Team in Woking, have written to families to inform them of a Thames Valley Police investigation into Woodbury House and a second care home, also run by Brighterkind, The Berkshire in Wokingham.

Expert Opinion
“This is a harrowing case and Alan’s family are finding it incredibly difficult to come to terms with the sub-standard care he received whilst a resident at Woodbury House Care Home.

“The safeguarding investigation conducted by the council concluded that he was neglected and that there were several failures by staff to meet even the most basic of his care needs.

“Basic nursing errors like the ones in this case should simply not occur. It gives nursing a bad reputation when the vast majority of nurses should be praised for the excellent work they do in what can be very difficult circumstances.

“Pressure sores of this kind are completely avoidable if proper care is given and procedures are followed. We are investigating whether more could and should have been done to prevent Alan’s suffering.

“Given the level of neglect described in reports by the council, Woodbury House Care Home now needs to ensure it learns from this and makes the necessary improvements to ensure this never happens again.

“I imagine the families of people staying in Woodbury House will be deeply distressed to learn that concerns for care practices have now been extended to a second BrighterKind care home, The Berkshire, and that a police investigation is now underway.”
Georgie Cushing (Née Kerr-Dineen), Solicitor

Alan, grandfather-of-seven was treated for the pressure sores at The Royal Berkshire Hospital and was given antibiotics, fluids, and a blood transfusion. He was discharged later in July 2015 and transferred to a different care home but he sadly died on August 24, 2015. The death certificate lists his cause of death as pneumonia, heart disease and extensive pressure sores.

Alan’s son, David Church, said: “We were shocked and absolutely horrified when we saw the full extent of my dad’s condition and injuries. We cannot believe that any care home or healthcare provider could let a patient end up like this.

"Before Dad went into Woodbury House he was active and had a healthy appetite but after the new management took over, he began to lose a lot of weight, became very lethargic and always looked unkempt. We repeatedly raised our concerns to staff when we visited him but his condition continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate.

“After hearing the conclusion of Wokingham Council’s safeguarding report, we were devastated. He deserved so much better than the sub-standard quality of care he was given and we hope that from speaking out we can highlight the issues in care homes and that vast improvements are made so this never happens to any other families.

“We trusted staff and professionals at Woodbury House, but we feel that Dad was greatly let down and would have had a greater quality of life and still be alive if he had not been neglected.”

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of hospital negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.