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Family fights to improve standards after death of resident of failing care home

The family of a 92-year-old widow are fighting to raise awareness and improve standards in a failing care home after her sad death following a fall which saw her left for more than 12 hours before receiving hospital treatment.

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The relatives of Dorothy Ward have highlighted their concerns about the quality of services at Newgrove House Care Home in New Waltham, which was placed in special measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission in July 2017, as a result of the circumstances surrounding her death.

Mrs Ward, a resident at the care home, was found to have fallen out of bed at around 12.25am on 29 March 2017. She complained of pain in her right side, but the team leader subsequently claimed that proper procedure was followed and all appropriate checks were made in deciding not to seek medical advice.

Mrs Ward was checked at 7.15am, 15 minutes after a change of shift, but no observations took place because she was sleeping. At about 9am the manager and another team member checked, and they called an ambulance because Mrs Ward was complaining of severe right pain in her hip.

But at 10.20am the manager received a call from the ambulance service saying they were busy. The service had assumed the case was non-urgent due to the delay between the fall and the call for an ambulance, which didn't arrive until 12.30pm. At 5pm, staff at the home were informed that Mrs Ward had a fractured hip. She died at 7.35pm on 1 April 2017.

Mrs Ward's daughter visited the home two days later and, after complaining that the level of care had been unacceptable, was told by the manager that an ambulance should have been called earlier.

As an inquiry began into the circumstances of Mrs Ward's death two suspended members of staff at Newgrove House failed to attend two "chats"; which were part of the investigative process.

The home concluded its investigation on 5 May and took disciplinary action against three members of staff, including the team leader who was referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

On 17 May Mrs Ward's son attended a meeting with the care home's regional manager, who admitted there was no excuse for the failure to follow proper procedures. He showed posters which said staff should call for an ambulance immediately if a resident was injured or in pain after a fall or accident. He also said the team leader showed no sympathy or remorse for her failure to carry out her duty, upon learning of Mrs Ward's death.

The family sought legal advice but rather than pursue a claim for medical negligence wanted to share details of the incident at Newgrove House and raise awareness of the circumstances of the case. Danielle Barney, Head of the Medical Negligence Department at Bridge McFarland's Grimsby office, said their hope was that care homes will review procedures and staffing and ensure improvements in standards.

Danielle said: "This was a terrible ordeal for Mrs Ward's family and the investigation which followed found clear failings in the level of care provided by the home. Action was taken against the staff involved on this occasion but the case raises some disturbing questions about the quality of care at Newgrove House, which awaits re-inspection following its rating as inadequate.

"It is hoped that the experience of Mrs Ward and the persistence of her family will encourage other patients and their families to highlight and report any concerns they may have about treatment standards in any care homes or healthcare setting."

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Danielle Barney
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T: 01472 311 711

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Can I make a medical negligence claim on behalf of someone who has died?
Yes. Only, if you are the spouse of the Deceased or Executor of the Estate.
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You can contact us by telephone, by email or fax and through our online enquiry facility found on this website.

 

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