Inquest into death of woman after care home fall

Wednesday 8am - THE manager and two nurses at a Louth care home have been disciplined in the wake of an accident which resulted in the death of a resident.

This emerged at an inquest on Mary Barlow - known as Molly - who sustained head injuries when she fell from her bed at The Elms on October 29 last year.

There was a delay in providing treatment and, though later taken to Lincoln County Hospital, Mrs Barlow, 86, died two days later from head injuries, including bleeding of the brain.

A subsequent internal inquiry conducted by the home's owners, Four Seasons Health Care, has resulted in first and final warnings being issued to the home's nursing manager, Diane Howden, and two nurses, Maria Canjucon and Patricia Nicholson.

After hearing the evidence unfold, Louth District Coroner Stuart Fisher said there had been a 'very unfortunate catalogue of failings' both in the standard of care, in provision of an appropiate type of bed and in internal communications.

"I am surprised emergency services were not called," he said. "Head injuries are always serious - particularly in the elderly."

However, he said he accepted assurances from Four Seasons they had taken the accident seriously and instigated urgent improvements to prevent a recurrence either at The Elms or at any of their other 413 homes in the UK. "For this I commend them," he said.

Present at the hearing, held on Friday at Louth Town Hall, were the commercial director of Four Seasons, Dominic Haydon, and Adrian Pancott who has special responsibility for the company's 44 homes in the south and east of England, including The Elms which has 81 beds across three units.

Mr Pancott said the Louth home had now been placed 'under a microscope' in how it provided care for 'service users'.

Not only had support been given to management but there had also been enhanced training for staff across the spectrum of such issues as health and safety, risk assessment, movement and handling of residents and dignity.

"We are committed to providing the highest levels of care," he said.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, the Coroner thanked all those who gave evidence for being 'honest and open'.

Although originally from Doncaster, Molly had lived in Louth for a least 40 years,

She was well known to many in the town because she used to be a physiotherapist at Louth County Hospital.

She also loved dance and used to make costumes for the Sandra Barnes dance school.

She had been at The Elms for most of the past decade and had been suffering from dementia.