Death calls into question Stanfields OAP's home care standard
CONCERNS were raised about the standard of care a 79-year-old women received at home after she developed a large pressure sore.
Mother-of-four Margaret Clews was receiving care at her home in Sherwin Road, Stanfields, when she developed pressure sores on her heels and lower back.
The 79-year-old retired catering assistant had become bed bound in the last five months of her life. She was being attended by family members along with several carers and district nurses.
An inquest into her death heard Mrs Clews was sleeping on a single bed in the living room and was unable to move without aid. The bed was adapted with an airflow mattress to try and prevent bed sores from forming.
However, Mrs Clews eventually had to be admitted to hospital.
Anne Barks, a matron at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, said: "When she was admitted to ward 73 two nurses spent three hours bathing her and trimming her finger nails. They felt that she had come to us in an unkempt manner."
Son Jimmy Clews, of Crossley Road, Stanfields, told the court: "My mum always maintained that she wanted to die at home."
Mrs Clews was admitted to hospital on June 23, 2010 after concerns the sore had doubled in size. On arrival there were claims the pensioner was in a state of poor hygiene.
Daughter Paula Harratt said: "I was told that her hygiene wasn't very good and there was dirt around the pressure sore.
"I was shocked at what they were telling me, because we had a number of carers and district nurses coming in to help."
District nurse Hazel Phoenix helped put the care package in place and first noticed the sore on June 3.
At the time of admission the pressure sore was black, because of tissue decay, and measured 9.5cm across.
The nurse said: "It was an unexpected change and no-one could offer me an explanation.
"However, when Mrs Clewes left the property she wasn't unkempt or dirty at all."
The district nurse team came under scrutiny for not referring Mrs Clewes to a specialist tissue viability nurse at the onset of the sore.
Mrs Clews died of septicaemia caused by a large pressure sore.
Coroner Ian Smith recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.
He said: "I am satisfied that appropriate measures were taken during most of her care.
"She was elderly, immobile and her nutritional intake was very poor. That's not to say that everything was perfect but I am sure that everyone acted with the best intentions. And we can not say that an earlier referral would have changed the outcome ultimately."