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Family gets payout from care home over failings leading to great-grandmother's death

A family has received a substantial payout from a care home following failings in the care of a 94-year-old great-grandmother which led to her death.

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Irene Garbett with great grandchild Max, daughter Carol and grandchildren Kate (left) and Helen.

Irene Garbett’s family said Bentley Court Care Home in Wolverhampton allowed the mother-of-two to develop pressure sores to the extent that one became septic and untreatable.

Mrs Garbett died in March 2019, with an inquest listing her primary cause of death as septicemia caused by an infected pressure sore.

The home, on Nordley Road, Wednesfield, has now made a substantial out-of-court settlement to her family after admitting a series of failings in relation to her treatment in the months leading up to her death.

Granddaughter Helen, a coronary care nurse, said Mrs Garbett's treatment during the last few months of her life had been ‘awful’.

Mrs Garbett, who also had four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, spent most of her life in Bilston, where she used to work in a fruit shop, and was described as a "bubbly, happy" woman who would help anyone.

The home is currently rated as 'requires improvement' by the Care Quality Commission. It was given the worst rating of 'inadequate' and placed into special measures a month before Mrs Garrett's death. It was taken over by new owners in July.

“It was just absolutely dreadful," Helen said. "The last days of somebody’s life should be full of dignity, love and comfort. It was anything but that for my nan who suffered excruciating pain.

“The pressure sores were allowed to develop to the stage that they were untreatable and it was the family who recognised that nan was septic. We even had to drive to a pharmacy at one stage to get water for her intravenous line.

“Being a nurse I am passionate about end-of-life care, but it was almost non-existent for nan. It was just awful and she should never have had to go through it.

“This whole journey has never been about money, but about highlighting my nan’s case and getting the home to admit its mistakes. It was also about making sure other residents and families do not have to go through the pain my nan – and our family – have endured."

Michael Portman-Hann, of FBC Manby Bowdler’s clinical negligence team, which assisted the family, said Mrs Garbett had been badly let down by the home.

He said: “This is a terrible case in which an elderly woman was denied proper care by those whose duty it was to look after her. Had appropriate care been provided, Mrs Garbett would not have sustained these sores and would have avoided the pain and suffering she endured as a result. She would also have avoided the septicemia which proved fatal."

A spokesman for Bond Care, which took over Bentley Court in July, said: “Since we have taken over we have been rated ‘good’ for safety by the Care Quality Commission and we are working closely with them to improve the carehome.”