A WINCHESTER care home has been criticised following the death of a resident.

Elizabeth Wood, known as 'Jill', suffered a number of falls while a living at the St Cross Grange facility.

As a result of at least one of those falls, Mrs Wood, the wife of former Winchester City Council leader Keith Wood, suffered head injuries, resulting in her death on October 6.

However, Winchester Coroner's Court heard claims that the care home missed opportunities to intervene earlier, including failing to tell doctors about the number of falls she suffered.

Mrs Wood's son Mark Dewar told an inquest that the 82-year-old had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia, but her condition deteriorated following a fall in August.

Mr Dewar said: "I really found it difficult to get through to her. I was shocked."

He added that he called St Paul's Surgery, where Mrs Wood was registered, and urged doctors to give her a brain scan.

After being admitted to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in early September, a scan revealed a haemorrhage, and she remained in hospital until her death.

Dr Alex Charkin, Mrs Wood's GP, told the inquest that the care home had not informed him about her falls, and that if they had he could have taken action to assess her wellbeing.

However, senior coroner Grahame Short ruled that even if her injuries had been spotted earlier it may not have changed the eventual outcome, and he was not sure which specific fall had caused the injuries.

During the inquest, Mr Short asked what improvements were being made at St Cross Grange, which is in the process of recruiting a new manager.

Fiona Kane, senior operations manager for Greensleeves, which runs St Cross Grange as well as 21 other homes, said that there were "much more robust" risk assessments in place.

Mr Short added that a recent CQC report on the home "does not make happy reading". Following an inspection, the watchdog rated the home as 'requires improvement', with 'inadequate' safety.

However, the report did rate the home as being 'good' for caring, which Ms Wood's family acknowledged.

A conclusion of accidental death was recorded.

Following the inquest a St Cross Grange spokesman said: "We fully accept the findings of this inquest.

"While the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death we do accept that we could have communicated better at the time of the incident and we have since reviewed our processes and systems accordingly.

"We have already put in place a robust action plan to ensure all shortcomings identified in our recent CQC report are corrected as swiftly as possible. This has included a change of leadership at the home.

"We would once again like to pass on our deepest condolences to the family of Mrs Wood and reassure them that important lessons have been learnt from this case.

"The safety and wellbeing of the residents remains our number one priority and we will work closely with the CQC in the coming weeks and months to ensure St Cross Grange offers the highest quality care and support to everyone."


t: 01962 860836

e: michael.seymour@dailyecho.co.uk