Pensioner died hours after care home attack

An elderly woman collapsed at a care home in the Black Country less than two hours after she was hit over the head by another resident with a walking stick, an inquest heard.

Dementia sufferer Violet Hughes, known to friends and family as Marjorie, later died at New Cross Hospital after the assault at Waterside House, in Wood End, Wolverhampton.

Mrs Hughes, aged 77, had previously been attacked several times by the unnamed woman and care assistants at the home had been told by senior managers to always keep the pair apart, the inquest held at Smethwick Council House was told.

Black Country coroner Robin Balmain concluded at the inquest yesterday not enough was done by the care home owned by MHA to eliminate the risk posed to Mrs Hughes.

After Mr Balmain reached his narrative verdict, Mrs Hughes’ devastated family said they would be seeking damages from Waterside.

During the inquest, care assistant Angela Burrows said she was in the kitchen when Mrs Hughes was hit in the lounge.

“I heard a noise,” she said. “Mrs Hughes was holding the side of her face. She was sitting by the door next to Mrs X.

“They were sitting in the lounge area at the time. I moved them apart.”

Another care assistant was on her break.

Sharon Gentle, who was manager of the care home at the time, told the inquest she was only aware of two previous incidents between Mrs Hughes and the un-named woman.

Mr Balmain said: “On October 10 Mrs Hughes collapsed following a cardiac arrest and was declared dead at 1.43pm. She had been hit on the head by a fellow resident that had dementia.

“The assault may have precipitated her death but Mrs Hughes had severe heart disease and could have died of natural causes at any time. The risk of assault was known at the time. Measures to reduce and eliminate the risk were not implemented.”

Spokeswoman for MHA, Rachel Fletcher, said the company had taken careful note of the coroner’s comments and would take all the points on board in order to safeguard its residents.



Sourced from Express and Star, 29th March 2012.