Home chiefs under fire after dementia woman wanders off

NURSING home bosses have been criticised today after staff insisted an 86-year-old resident was safe in bed when she was actually wandering the streets at 10pm.

Carrie Asbery, who has Alzheimer’s disease, was discovered cold and confused at 10pm by a medical student more than two miles from the care home where she lives.

But when 21-year-old Hassan Rehmani called Grange Crescent, in Nether Edge, Sheffield, to report that Mrs Asbery was out, staff told him they were sure she was in bed.

The blunder was only discovered after Mr Rehmani, who is in his fourth year at Sheffield University, insisted staff check again on Mrs Asbery’s whereabouts.

When Mr Rehmani stopped to help, great-grandmother-of-five Mrs Asbery was on the verge of hypothermia, and insisted she was walking to visit her mother on the other side of Sheffield.

Mrs Asbery’s daughter, Jean Fletcher, 65, from Dronfield, near Sheffield, yesterday condemned the nursing home’s managers over the incident.

She said: “Nobody even noticed she wasn’t there at 10pm. She could have been out all night. It just doesn’t bear thinking about. Afterwards they were more concerned about covering their own backs – there was no concern for her welfare.”

After taking Mrs Asbery to the Northern General Hospital following the incident last Tuesday, Mr Rehmani called at Grange Crescent but was asked to leave by “hostile” staff.

Mrs Fletcher, who has complained to SheffCare Ltd which runs the care home, said her mother was diagnosed with dementia six years ago.

She said: “I am very grateful to Hassan. I think he will make a great doctor. He showed a lot of concern about mum, not only when he found her but afterwards too.”

David Roulston, chief executive at SheffCare Ltd, said: “A full investigation is being carried out. The member of staff in charge that evening has been suspended pending the result of the investigation.

“We have notified both the Commission for Social Care Inspection and Social Services.

“The gates leading from the garden of Grange Crescent have been double-locked since last summer as a security precaution and, following the incident involving Mrs Asbery, an alarm system is now in place on the front door.”

It was important to point out Grange Crescent was a residential care home and not a secure unit, he said, but the safety and well-being of residents was paramount.

Mr Roulston added: “We have been in contact with Mr Rehmani to thank him.”