Coroner slams home over pensioner’s care

A picture of Molly Darby (94) released by her family to show her looking like a "concentration camp victim" after being in the Beeches Residential home for four weeks. Her family say that she was in a good physical state before going in the home.
A picture of Molly Darby (94) released by her family to show her looking like a "concentration camp victim" after being in the Beeches Residential home for four weeks. Her family say that she was in a good physical state before going in the home.
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A PENSIONER who died just weeks after moving into an old folks home was not properly looked after by care workers, a coroner has ruled.

Relatives of Molly Darby, 94, of Oak Lee Avenue, West Melton, said she “looked like a concentration camp victim” only weeks after moving into The Beeches at Wath.

They claim she was “quite sprightly” when she first entered the home in June 2007, but died several weeks later in Barnsley Hospital with a catalogue of health problems.

Rotherham Council launched a probe into her care and ruled there had been “neglect by omission”, though this was denied by care home bosses.

At an inquest in Rotherham on Wednesday, Coroner Nicola Mundy ruled there had been inadequate care.

She said: “The elderly in our society must be properly cared for and their dignity protected. Mrs Darby was not awarded the dignity and care she was afforded.”

The court heard she was taken to the care home after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her family were struggling to meet her needs.

She suffered a fall in the home and was admitted to Barnsley Hospital on August 10 after contracting a chest infection. Her condition worsened and she died of Bronchopneumonia on August 19.

Mrs Darby’s son James told the inquest her hair had become matted, she had pressure sores on her heel and her eyelashes were so congealed she was unable to lift her eyelids.

He claimed a hospital nurse told him she had never seen anyone brought in from a home in such a poor state.

Sam Newton, Rotherham Council’s Service Manager for Safeguarding Adults, launched an inquiry and found there had been “neglect by omission.”

She told the inquest staff had not sufficiently kept care plan records updated, and information given was too vague.

Mrs Darby weighed only five and a half stone and she was supposed to have been weighed weekly, but there was no evidence of this, she said.

Moira Ockenden, a former boss of the care home, admitted in a statement that staff should have documented their activities better in the care plan.

But she maintained comparing Mrs Darby to a concentration camp victim was “unjustified” and workers had provided treatment for her various ailments and her hygiene needs were taken care of.

The home used to be run by Winnie Care Group, but has since been taken over by a new company called MHA.

The inquest heard that processes such as keeping care records updated properly and staff training were now vastly improved.

Coroner Mundy said she was happy there had been sufficient improvements at the home under the new management, but added she would write to Winnie Care Group requesting they review the way they document care services and improve training regimes.

Recording a narrative verdict, Ms Mundy said: “Mrs Darby’s basic care and medical requirements were not satisfactorily met.”

After the hearing, Mrs Darby’s granddaughter Pearl Green said: “The way she was treated was inhumane. There should be better training provided nationally for people who work in care homes.”