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Family wants answers over death in care home: How did my mother end up on floor?

Staffordshire | News | Published:

An elderly woman died after being found lying on the floor at a care home with another resident standing over her.

It has sparked concerns from Betty Davies's family over what happened before she was found.

But a coroner has concluded she died of natural causes.

Mrs Davies died last month of a deteriorating heart disease aged 84 at her home at Windsor House Care Home on Marquis Court in Hednesford.

But Cannock Coroners Court heard that a male resident from the care home had been in her room before she died on the evening of June 17.

She was later found by nursing staff on a crash mat on the floor of her room with the man kneeling down over her before paramedics arrived.

This took place just 10 minutes after Mrs Davies was last seen by staff who had given her paracetamol tablets in her room. Mrs Davies's family want to know how she ended up on the floor and say they were not told about the other resident in her room until days after she had died.

The incident was also not reported to the paramedic who was treating Betty before she died.

The family's concerns led to a police investigation which found no evidence of any wrong-doing and no prosecutions took place.

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A post mortem also found no evidence of physical injury to her body.

Giving evidence Jayne Wood, manager of Windsor House Care Home – who was on annual leave at the time of Mrs Davies's death – said: "At 8.20pm the carers were doing their checks, one of the carers went into her room and found the gentleman and Betty on the crash mat on the floor.

"I was aware the family were not told of the incident."

Coroner Andrew Haigh said in his conclusion it was impossible to tell whether anything had happened in the room to contribute to her death and concluded she died of natural causes.

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He said: "The post-mortem examination does show a natural cause of death. There is no indication of any form of injury to Betty's body.

"We are all subject to stress at times but there is no evidence to suggest Betty suffered any additional stress prior to her death. On the balance of probabilities I can record that this is a natural death."

Speaking after the inquest, Betty's daughter Lisa Lake, who lives in Brewood, said she would be seeking legal advice following the inquest.

"When I asked the coroner could that incident have caused my mum's death he could not answer it.

"They (care home staff) didn't tell us of anything about this man being in her room. To find out three or four days later that someone may or may not have been involved in her death is such a horrible feeling."

Mrs Wood apologised to Betty's family during the inquest for not telling them of the incident sooner.

Speaking after the hearing she said: "Our sympathies go out to Mrs Davies's family for their loss. Mrs Davies's health had been deteriorating and staff were monitoring her closely.

"A nurse had given Mrs Davies her medication and when care staff checked on her 10 minutes later they found her on her crash mat with another resident in the room. She was assessed and helped back to bed. The other resident was immediately taken out of the room. The nurse became concerned at Mrs Davies's worsening condition and called paramedics.

"We regret that the family were not informed until some days later that a resident had been in Mrs Davies's room. The nurse had been focused on the emergency medical situation, which left him very distressed and he overlooked to mention it."

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