Care home resident died from dehydration, malnourishment and pressure sores, inquest hears
An elderly stroke victim died after suffering dehydration, malnourishment and pressure sores during a four-month stay at a nursing home, an inquest heard.
Bed- or chair-bound Dorothea Hale, 75, died in hospital weeks after being admitted from the Grosvenor House nursing home in Abertillery, Monmouthshire.
Mrs Hale was a resident at the nursing home from July until November 2006 when she was transferred to hospital.
Nursing staff recorded the grandmother was malnourished and suffering from dehydration and pressure sores.
Gwent Coroner’s Court in Newport heard Mrs Hale died in January 2007 and her death featured in Operation Jasmine – a police investigation into neglect of elderly residents at several care homes in South Wales.
The inquiry lasted nearly a decade and cost over £11 million with detectives looking at 63 deaths.
The inquest heard Mrs Hale was diagnosed with a heart condition and underwent surgery in March 2006.
She later suffered two strokes, which left her paralysed down her left side, and needing full-time nursing care.
Mrs Hale had a peg tube feeding system fitted as she had difficulty swallowing and in July she moved into Grosvenor House.
Notes made by nursing staff at the hospital prior to her transfer record the mother-of-two as being turned regularly every three or four hours and not having any pressure sores.
Catherine Cawte, Mrs Hale’s daughter, told the inquest she had not realised at first how much weight her mother had lost after moving to the nursing home.
“I would say that when we were there with the coaxing she was eating. I wasn’t worried that she was massively fading away before our eyes until that last week or so,” she said.
“She had poor nutritional intake, but I wouldn’t have said she was malnourished because of the supplements and the food my dad (was giving her).”
She said that while her mother was living at the nursing home, she complained of having a sore bottom but did not mention pressure sores.
Mrs Cawte, a nurse, told the inquest that when her mother was admitted to hospital in November 2006 she was close to death.
“I can remember being there with my dad and brother and waiting for some time and remember a nurse coming in to see us and saying words like: ‘Oh my God, what did they do to your mother in that care home? She has pressure sores and her peg feeding tube is filthy and blocked.’
“I remember that being the focus and mum wouldn’t last the weekend because she was in such poor health.
“We were informed she was severely dehydrated and severely malnourished. That was the first we heard of the pressure sores.”
In a written statement Mrs Hale’s husband, Laurence, said his wife was admitted to hospital on November 18 as her health was declining.
“We were informed she was in a poor general condition and had a large pressure sore to her back, which we had no previous knowledge of,” Mr Hale, who has since died, said.
“Following Dorothea suffering the stroke I was aware she was never going to get better. She was paralysed down her left side and unable to turn herself or carry out regular day to day movements.
“She found it very difficult to communicate and was not able to hold a conversation.
“I had no previous experience of the care profession and I found everything was taken out of my control and I went on the advice that was given to me at every stage.”
Earlier this year, a coroner found the deaths of five residents at the Brithdir nursing home in New Tredegar, South Wales, which featured in Operation Jasmine, were contributed to by neglect.
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