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'Weneed to keep a closer eye oncarers for the vulnerable' CALL FOR CCTV TO PROTECT DEMENTIA PATIENTS.

Byline: KALI LINDSAY Reporter kali.lindsay@trinitymirror.com

TWO grief-stricken sisters are calling on CCTV to be installed in all dementia care homes after a hip fracture led to the death of their mum.

Patricia Heslop was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 65 and was placed in Hebburn Court Dementia Nursing Care Home in South Tyneside after serious concerns were raised for her safety due her habit of wandering off.

As the disease progressed into latestage Alzheimer's, the 75-year-old lost her ability to speak or communicate effectively and would often spend hours walking round the home, day and night.

When it became apparent at a visit that she was very lethargic and unable to get herself up and walk around, her daughters, Ashleigh Joachim, 47, and Lesley Haswell, 50, both of Sunderland, became increasingly concerned for her welfare.

An ambulance was called and their mum was admitted to hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with an impacted hip fracture requiring extensive hip replacement surgery.

But Patricia never recovered from her injuries and died five months later in palliative care.

Ashleigh and Lesley carried out an investigation using the care home's own documentation and say it transpired that staff had been using a wheelchair to transport their normally fully mobile mother around the home over the hip fracture period, yet it was never mentioned to them during their numerous visits.

The sisters believed their mum had suffered a fall which had not been reported, with Patricia being assisted up from the floor then left to suffer in silence and in excruciating pain for five days before being taken to hospital at their request.

The that a staffhas Patricia position witnessed and has anything. true, that reprehensible After undergoing a forensic post-mortem, a three-day inquest into her death by senior coroner Winter ruled Patricia died from the combination of natural causes and an unwitnessed fall which had resulted in a fractured right neck of femur.

The sisters say they were refused legal aid and were left with no option but to represent their mother's case themselves at the inquest.

Coroner Derek Winter upheld the sisters' view that Patricia had been assisted up from the floor without the fall having been reported, and left with undiagnosed injuries until her admission to South Tyneside NHS Hospital.

In a transcript from a recording of the inquest, he said: "The likelihood is that a member of staff has found Patricia in a fallen position or witnessed the fall and has not said anything. If that is true, that is reprehensible."

Ashleigh and Lesley slammed the way their mother was treated by staff at the HC One Care-run home and say they have yet to receive an apology.

They are now campaigning for a specific charter to protect the human rights of dementia patients in memory of their beloved mother, under the campaign name I Still Matter Now.

is member of found a fallen or the fall not said If that is is Ashleigh said: "Dementia care is now massively underfunded and in a catastrophic state.

"The extent of this catastrophic state is being kept deliberately hidden from the general public. It is only when your loved one or family member develops dementia you are then thrust into the CORONER DEREK WINTER CALL FOR CCTV TO PROTECT DEMENTIA PATIENTS nightmare world that this horrific disease brings."

The sisters claim their mum was often left thirsty, hungry and filthy at the home, which had already been safeguarded for poor care prior to her hip fracture. They now want to see a number of measures introduced, including making it the law to have CCTV in all dementia nursing homes and hospital wards.

Ashleigh said: "Dementia deaths, neglect and abuse should be a national outrage - if it were toddlers and babies suffering the same fate the public would be demonstrating on our streets. Yet our dementia sufferers are just as vulnerable; they are no different from vulnerable children and babies and desperately need protecting."

A spokesperson for Hebburn Court said bosses have worked closely with the relevant authorities, including the coroner's office, to learn from this "very serious" case.

"A full internal investigation was completed, and a number of changes were made," the home said.

"We also have effective safeguarding and risk assessment policies in place, and a comprehensive training programme that all staff must complete." The Care Quality Commission confirmed it is aware of the coroner's findings.

The spokesperson added: "Our inspection team have been in direct contact with the family regarding our regulatory role and our inspection findings.

"Inspectors visited the service in November last year, in response to the specific concerns, and identified breach in the fundamental standards as well as areas for improvement.

"However, inspectors did not find any significant risks to the people using the service which may have warranted enforcement action, and subsequently rated the home as requiring improvement overall."

The Department of Health and Social Care said the Government wants to make sure health and social care staff have appropriate training so they can support people with dementia. A spokesperson said: "We remain committed to making this the best country in the world for dementia care, support, research and awareness and we continue to make progress in ensuring better access to high-quality care, with more than one million dementia awareness training sessions delivered to health and care staff since 2012."

'"The likelihood is that a member of staff has found Patricia in a fallen position or witnessed the fall and has not said anything. If that is true, that is reprehensible." CORONER DEREK WINTER

CAPTION(S):

| Sisters Lesley Haswell and Ashleigh Joachim want to see changes

| Ashleigh Joachim's mother died after suffering a hip fracture during her time at a dementia care home home
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Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 9, 2018
Words:962
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