‘Danger’ Granny Forces Apology From Devon Care Chiefs

Social services bosses have been forced to make an embarrassing apology after a frail 81-year-old was branded potentially dangerous by staff who were supposed to be helping her.

Retired teacher Ada Tremlett, of Underhill Park, Tiverton, walks with two sticks, is just over 5ft tall and is recovering from a broken wrist after a fall.She was therefore horrified to discover a healthcare visitor who was meant to offer her advice and support following the accident labelled her as ‘medium to high risk’ of causing violence in a risk assessment.

The grandmother of two discovered the mistake when she read a file sent to her home in early April.

“I wasn’t very happy with what I saw,” said Mrs Tremlett. “It made me feel worried. I could see that allocating me to that group could have implications for my future treatment.”

Mrs Tremlett, who was married to a policeman and who has no history of violence, said she immediately wrote to the director of Devon County Council’s social services to complain.

She was also shocked by the quality of a form filled out by her care worker.

She said: “One of the questions didn’t even make grammatical sense. It said: ‘Has the person become verbally aggressive or suddenly become silent?’ There were three options: Yes, no or don’t know. You cannot not know the answer to that. A person is verbally abusive or quiet, or they are not.

“Also, score boxes were not lined up with the questions. The person counting the score could easily misread the answer.”

After reading Mrs Tremlett’s letter, the council issued an unequivocal apology.

“I certainly feel justified in my complaint,” added Mrs Tremlett. “There might be others with similar experiences and it needed looking into.”

Zena Ambrose, a spokeswoman for Age Concern, said: “This is clearly a case where common sense has not been used. People who do these assessments need to use their discretion and think about the person in front of them.

“If anyone is worried about this, they should contact the council for a copy of their file.”

A spokesman for the council said: “We are reviewing the suitability of the form that was used and will be refreshing staff training. In addition, we will ensure that current risk assessments are reviewed.”