Son tells coroner of concerns over late mother’s treatment in Leytonstone care home

The grieving son of an elderly woman discovered in “concerning circumstances” at a Waltham Forest care home has called for “major reform”.

Daisy Wood died of pneumonia aged 84 on February 21, 2019 after being rushed to hospital from St Catherine Care Home in Leytonstone.

East London coroner Nadia Persaud found that staff’s failure to “adequately observe” Ms Wood meant she was unresponsive by the time a doctor was called to see her.

Ms Wood was prescribed the anti-anxiety medication Lorazepam earlier that month, after being physically assaulted by a member of staff at the care home caused her psychological distress.

Ms Persaud stated care home staff should not have continued to give her the sedative medication in the days leading up to her death, when she appeared drowsier than normal.

Her son told Walthamstow Coroners Court: “There’s been Lorazepam (wrongly) administered and the nurse didn’t take any notice or interest and let it continue. I find that absolutely disgraceful.

“She was doped to the gills just to keep her quiet, if that is what we do to old people in care homes there needs to be major reform.”

However, after hearing two days of evidence, Ms Persaud ruled that, despite the failings of staff, she could not state “on the balance of probabilities” that Ms Wood’s death was preventable.

She said: “I find that there was a failure by staff at St Catherine’s care home to adequately observe Daisy’s condition. Staff could not possibly have carried out competent checks.

“This was not a state that she descended into over a matter of minutes. This would have taken hours or possibly days.

“But none of the medical witnesses have been able to state that, on the balance of probabilities, Daisy’s death would have been avoided had medical care been accessed at an earlier time.”

Ms Persaud noted that she found the evidence of one former staff member at the home, who insisted Ms Wood was “verbalising that she was fine” earlier that day, “unreliable”.

The court heard that, in December 2018, Ms Wood was repeatedly shoved by a member of staff. The staff member was fired from the home and later convicted of assault.

St Catherine Care Home is currently rated “good” by the CQC.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter