May 26, 2010

UK: Leicester nursing home failings 'led to death'

LEICESTER, England / BBC News / May 26, 2010

Failings by staff at a Leicester nursing home led to the premature death of a resident, a coroner has said.

Joyce Mason, 86, would have survived if staff at Braunstone Firlands Care Centre had admitted her to hospital earlier, an inquest found.

Mrs Mason's health deteriorated during her three weeks as a resident at the care home, the inquest heard.

Owners Prime Life said an internal review would take place. The inquest found Mrs Mason died of natural causes.

Coroner Catherine Mason said there were at least three separate occasions on which Mrs Mason, who had dementia and a heart condition, could, and should, have been admitted to hospital before she died in April 2009.

Notes unavailable: The high standard of record keeping and delivery of care the family should have received "did not happen", the inquest heard.

The coroner added: "If she had, on the balance of probabilities, she would have survived.

"The elderly deserve the right to be treated with respect, dignity and care. In the case of Mrs Mason, that simply didn't happen."

Mrs Mason was not checked for hours at a time, she was not registered with a local GP and her notes were not available, the inquest heard.

Mrs Mason's son Philip said: "We put our mother into care with people we thought we could trust and they let us down completely."

A spokesman for care home owners Prime Life said: "The inquest into the cause of death has concluded that Mrs Mason died of natural causes, however, Prime Life will now consider the detailed findings contained within the coroner's report to review the matter internally." [rc]