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Elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease died when agency failed to provide night care

An elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease died following a fall from bed when an agency night carer failed to attend his home. A Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigation found service failings by the nursing agency and made recommendations to ensure that these were not repeated. 

For several months Mr Robert Adamson had been receiving essential night care at his home from Chester-based nursing agency, Jane Lewis. Robert, who was in his early eighties, was unable to get out of bed without assistance or look after himself. The night carer’s role was to keep him safe and comfortable and provide respite for the family. 

On the night of the incident, the carer did not arrive at the usual time. The family made calls to the agency and were assured that a carer would come that evening. Robert’s wife went to bed on the understanding that her husband would receive the support and assistance he needed during the night.

The following morning Robert’s daughter, Rachel, found her father dead on the floor beside his bed. When the family complained, the agency did not appear to appreciate the level of distress caused and disagreed with the family about what had happened. 

Unsatisfied with the agency’s response, Rachel complained to the Ombudsman. The subsequent investigation identified that the agency’s poor communication and administrative errors left Robert without a carer on the night he died. Robert’s family received an apology from the agency, a payment that acknowledged the emotional impact and distress caused as a result of the service failings and the agency took steps to ensure that errors were not repeated. 

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