Call For Lessons To Be Learned Following Incident
A daughter has called for lessons to be learned after her mother was seriously injured in a fall down a stairwell at a care home.
Margaret Kay, who has dementia and often had to use a wheelchair due to reduced mobility, became a resident at Duchess Gardens care home in Bingley in 2017. In the following months the 75-year-old repeatedly showed signs of agitation and made several attempts to leave the premises and so was to be supervised at all times.
At some point on 18 September 2018, Margaret was given access to a locked coded door leading to a stairwell at the home. Margaret, a former nursery assistant, was found at the bottom of the stairs with her wheelchair on top of her.
She was subsequently taken to Airedale Hospital and treated for a bleed on the brain. While she has made some progress in her recovery she continues to be restricted in her mobility and has suffered with an exacerbation of her dementia.
Sadly, Margaret now struggles to communicate and her family have witnessed deterioration in her condition and feel she is now disengaged and vacant from life. Her family have moved her to a different care home.
Following the incident, Margaret’s daughter Gail Aspinall-Cooke instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care her mother received and whether more should have been done to help her.
Now, after the legal experts helped her secure an admission of liability regarding the incident from Qualia Care, Gail has spoken out about how the problems seen in her mother’s case cannot be repeated.
Sanna Mazhar, the specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office who represents the family, said: “This case has raised some very worrying questions regarding the standards of care and support, or lack of support, provided to Margaret at Duchess Gardens. This shouldn’t have been allowed to happen.
“Loved ones who are placed in care homes are often among the most vulnerable members of society and every effort must always be made to ensure they are looked after in a proper manner.
“We would urge all care home providers to ensure the highest standards of care are provided to residents at all times so others don’t have to go through what Margaret and her family have.”
A safeguarding report was prepared by the Qualia Care following Margaret’s fall and it was critical of a range of issues. A host of recommendations were included in the document, including the need for the site to comply with health and safety legislation and that systems for recording accidents needed to be improved.
In addition, the Duchess Gardens Care Home was subject to a review by the Quality Care Commission and a recent report states that the care home requires improvement. The report, which was published in February, found that “the service was not always safe” with not always enough staff deployed to meet the needs of the people living in the home, to keep them safe and support them. The report added that “the service was not always well-led” with a lack of effective systems in place to ensure staffing levels were adequate.
A previous report, which was published last September, outlined similar concerns. It was highlighted that “training for staff was not up to date” which included dementia awareness, and that “staff recruitment and selection policy and procedure was not always followed.”
Gail Aspinall-Cooke, from Keighley, said: “It is over a year now since Mum’s fall and the entire family remains shocked and appalled that it could have happened. She is such a caring woman and it upsets me to think she is still affected by an accident that was in no way her fault.
“When a loved one goes into care you put faith and trust in the idea that they will be looked after properly, but it just seems like that did not happen here.
“We feel determined to speak out on this issue and ensure that other sites are always meeting their responsibilities when it comes to safety.
“The admission of liability is a welcome step forward but this is about more than just our case – it is about ensuring lessons are learned and no other vulnerable people are hurt in a similar manner in the future.”
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