Care Home Matron Admits To Residents Abuse

A former nursing home matron today admitted failing to ensure adequate care to residents as a disciplinary hearing heard how elderly women were left with undressed sores and sitting in urine.

{mosimage}Patricia Parker, 59, admitted a series of failings dating from when she was the matron and manager of the Laurel Bank home in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

The home was featured in a BBC Panorama documentary earlier this year in which a former worker spoke of what she described as abuse and mental torture of patients behind closed doors. The woman told the programme that residents were slapped with towels, called names and left screaming in discomfort at the home.

Registered nurse Mrs Parker, from Halifax, admitted failings in relation to three former residents at a meeting of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Professional Conduct Committee in Bradford.

Her deputy at the home, Elisabeth Uttley, 62, from Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, is facing similar charges but has chosen not to attend the hearing. Both women are registered nurses.

{mosimage}The allegations against the two women focus on the treatment of three pensioners who lived at the home between 2002 and 2004 – Agnes Moore, 68, Lily Leatham, 83, and Ivy McGuire, who was 78 when she died three years ago.

In November 2005 the nursing home agreed to pay an undisclosed figure to Mrs Leatham in an out-of-court settlement after she was left with pressure sores so acute her hip bone could be clearly seen.

Lawyer Rachelle Mahapatra, who has represented all three residents, said: “The families feel that the power of the official regulator, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, has failed them and their mothers.” “They hope that through this hearing the individuals involved can be identified and dealt with accordingly.

They also hope that calls to prevent anything like this happening again will become deafening once the inadequacies of the present system of inspection and regulation of residential care homes is exposed.”

“In these three cases the women had loving, supportive daughters who attended their mothers regularly, but many of the residents at the home do not have relatives who can provide this extra tier of protection.

For their sakes, we need definitive action towards how we improve the treatment of the elderly in this country.”