Trentham care home changes after patient's death
CARE at a residential home where an 88-year-old dementia patient developed severe pressure sores "could have been better", an inquest heard.
Elsie O'Donnell died at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire on January 5, 2011 following an eight-month-long stay at New Park House in Trentham.
The mother-of-four had moved into the Chivelstone Grove facility on March 24, 2010 but in April, Mrs O'Donnell's family started to raise concerns over staff at the home, claiming they were neglectful.
Mrs O'Donnell's son Graham Bridgwood said he would regularly visit his mother to find her bedroom a mess and flooded with urine.
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Mr Bridgwood, of Arbourfield Drive, Bucknall, added: "She had developed pressure sores on her legs, hips and bottom.
"She had lost a lot of weight and had deteriorated badly.
"I asked a member of staff about the sores.
"I wasn't allowed to see them personally but I saw photographs and one of them was as big as my fist. It was horrific.
" I also had issues about my mum's general cleanliness, as I noticed that she had faeces under her fingernails."
Debbie Kattell, tissue viability nurse for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust, was contacted by New Park House on April 21 for advice on the treatment of the sores – which were graded at the highest level four and extended through to the bone – nine days after they were first brought to the attention of the staff.
She said: "When I saw Mrs O'Donnell, she wasn't very well and I was shocked at the extent of the pressure damage. We are normally contacted at a much earlier stage."
Mrs Kattell said she had met staff to advise them on how to help treat the pressure sores, including changing Mrs O'Donnell's mattress.
She added: "On the first assessment, we were concerned because Mrs O'Donnell was in a lot of pain but within a few days of my visit, the sores were healing brilliantly."
The inquest heard how Mrs O'Donnell's sores eventually healed. However, months later she developed some more and was transferred to hospital on October 16, where she remained until she died.
North Staffordshire Coroner Ian Smith told the inquest Mrs O'Donnell died from sepsis and pressure sores.
Recording a verdict of death by natural causes contributed to by Alzheimer's, immobility and pressure sores, he said: "I don't like pressure sores because usually they indicate something has gone badly wrong, but I did not find there was a gross failure to provide medical attention or neglect at New Park house.
"I do think, however, standards of hygiene and the dealing with pressure sores, as well as the seeking of help, could have been better."
Charlotte Gordon, Compliance Manager of Safeharbour Residential Care Homes, owners of New Park House, added: "There are things that could have been done better and changes have now been put into place and improvements have been made."