The owner of a care home where an elderly resident developed a pressure sore which later proved fatal has refused claims by members of staff that she was generally reluctant to call in a doctor or nurse.
Maureen Parry told an inquest in Ruthin that although neither she nor any member of staff had any medical training she had gained a lot of experience in her 31 years running the Halewood Residential Home in Llannerch Road West, Rhos-on-Sea.
She was giving evidence at an inquest into the death of 80-year-old Gloria Forrester, who had been a resident at the home for five years prior to her death on August 5 last year.
She died at Glan Clwyd Hospital two weeks after being admitted, and pathologist Dr Andrew Dalton gave the cause of death as sepsis in the pressure sore on her sacrum, or lower back.
Members of staff told the inquest that ever since she had been at Halewood Mrs Forrester had a small red mark which sometimes flared up or became a little hole which required attention. When that occurred they dried it and put cream on it.
“It did get a bit sore now and again,” said carer Louise Ralph, who last saw Mrs Forrester two days before she was admitted to hospital.
Shown the photographs of the sore taken after Mrs Forrester had arrived in hospital, Mrs Ralph commented: “It was nothing like that when I saw it.”
Another carer, Zoe Whelan, said staff drew Mrs Parry’s attention to such matters and left her to call in the district nurse or GP.
Asked by Nicola Jones, assistant coroner for North Wales East and Central, if she was surprised to learn that Mrs Forrester had died from that sore, Ms Whelan replied: “Yes”.
Olwen Jones said she told Mrs Parry when she felt the sore had started “becoming a problem” and Mrs Parry told her she had called the GP twice but he had not attended.
Asked by the assistant coroner why she or a colleague had not rung the GP or nurse, Miss Jones said Mrs Parry did not let them.
“She did not really like people going to hospital or the district nurse coming in because she said that if they went to hospital they didn’t come out again,” she said.
In a statement read at the hearing community nurse Gwenan Jones said that when she visited the home to see Mrs Forrester on July 19 there was a strong odour in her room. Mrs Forrester was very ill and arrangements were made for her to be taken immediately to hospital.
Mrs Parry accepted that staff had not been instructed on how to monitor pressure sores and that the home’s record-keeping was not as thorough as it might have been.
“But the fact that it does not s ay that something was done does not mean that it was not done,” she said. “With hindsight I should have done it but it was always word of mouth.”
She told the inquest that Mrs Forrester had a pressure mattress and was turned every couple of hours.
Mrs Parry, too, was shown the hospital photographs, and commented: “I certainly didn’t see it like that. I would have called the district nurse immediately.”
Asked about Olwen Jones’s observations about her reluctance to call the nurse or GP, Mrs Parry commented: “I can assure you that I would never have not called a doctor, and I had excellent rapport with the district nurse. At times I felt I called her out too often.”
The home closed last year and Mrs Parry said she and her husband had been planning to sell it for some time.