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Orchid View inquest: more families tell of neglect and mistreatment
2:08pm Wednesday 11th September 2013 in News
The daughter of a dementia sufferer who died at Orchid View care home in Copthorne has said she "had no confidence in the nursing care" and had "completely lost trust in the home" in the run up to her mother's death.
Patricia Newman, whose mother Margaret Tucker died at the home on July 27 2011, told an inquest at County Hall North in Horsham that she believed staff had deliberately withheld information about how her mother had fractured her ankle, an injury which was only discovered days after it had happened.
Mrs Tucker, 77, was one of 19 elderly residents who died after being placed at the care home run by Southern Cross in Copthorne, West Sussex.
Mrs Newman told the court her family had chosen Orchid View, which is now closed, because it had a floor which specifically dealt with people suffering from dementia.
But she said the staff seemed unable to cope with the residents' needs and that any complaints she made to the manager at the time were not followed up, the inquest heard.
She said her mother suffered bruises for which she never received any explanation and that she had also been left partially dressed more than once, the inquest heard.
On one occasion Mrs Tucker was left half hanging out of bed for about two hours, she said.
Mrs Newman told the inquest she was concerned her mother was not being supervised properly when it came to taking her medication and by June 2011 she had started keeping notes on her computer as she "noticed a decline in the quality of care at the home".
She said: "I had to make notes as things were going wrong on a regular basis."
She continued that she had twice found her mother's medication in her handbag or on top of the drawers next to the bed but had no clue how long they had been there, the court heard.
She said: "I told a nurse at the home called Sam what I had found. He blamed the bank staff, he said it was them who did not watch over her to make sure she took the tablets.
"But another nurse called Sharon said there had not been any bank staff on at that time."
Mrs Newman said that a lot of the time she and her family assumed the care home would be able to meet her mother's needs.
She said: "I felt I had to go to the home every day as I had no confidence in the care she was being given."
She said she believed the carers wanted to do their job but were "stretched to the limit".
She said: "I was expecting them to treat mum with respect and to meet her health, well-being and general needs."
John Holmes, 85, who also suffered from dementia, had been in a number of homes before his family found him a permanent place at Orchid View, the inquest heard.
His daughter Brenda Mulvaney said it was not long before she got the impression that they were running staff levels "on a budget" and that they were "getting away with the minimum they could".
In a statement read at the inquest, she said that as time went on there were a number of things which made her unsure about the home.
She said there was no single point of contact for her father and it was often hard to find a member of staff to talk to, the court was told.
She said she had once found her father soaking wet and sleeping in bed but she could not understand how this had happened as she had provided incontinence pads for him.
She told the inquest the staff would make him wear the pads during the day, when he did not need them, and she thought this had been done for convenience.
On one occasion when she visited her father she found staff had put him to bed at 5pm, the court heard.
She also claimed she had seen another resident being locked into her room.
She said: "In hindsight I regret putting dad into Orchid View. The advice I would offer to anyone else is it is the care that matters, not the home.
"The other homes had not been such flashy buildings but the staff loved their jobs.
"There were not enough good staff at Orchid View to make it work and as a result the residents did not receive adequate care."
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