A widow who complained about her husband’s care after his week-long respite stay at a Halifax nursing home has told a jury about the shocking discovery of pressure sore on him.
Ian Ball, 68, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, was described as being slumped in his chair and “staring into space” when his wife Janet went to collect him from the privately-run Elm View nursing home in Huddersfield Road.
Mrs Ball said her husband, who later passed away in 2011, needed help with everything because of his difficulties and she had told the home’s manager Faheza Simpson that he would need assistance with dressing, eating, walking and bathing during his stay.
She said her husband had not suffered in the past with pressure sores and he did not have any when she left him at the home.
Mrs Ball told the jury at Bradford Crown Court today (MON) that when she collected her husband in April 2011 a male nurse told her that Mr Ball had really missed her and he had a spot on his bottom.
But when she later examined his buttocks she found a six-inch by four-inch dressing covering a weeping sore.
“I slowly pulled it off and as I pulled it off I was really shocked because all the skin came up and it was just red flesh,” said Mrs Ball.
She said the affected area was about the size of the dressing and the next day her husband was admitted to hospital after being seen by a local GP.
The pressure sore was treated in hospital, but in a letter of complaint to home owner Philip Bentley Mrs Ball outlined her concerns about his care.
She said she had been given the impression that her husband was “fine” in a phone call she made while she was away, but she was shocked to find him slumped in a chair when she came to collect him.
“Two nurses had to lift him into a wheelchair because he couldn’t possibly stand,” she stated.
“He had to be lifted into the house because he was completely helpless... I was horrified to find on removing the dressing a large pressure sore covering a large area of the buttocks.”
Mrs Ball said her husband was also found to be dehydrated when he was taken into hospital.
“As his loving wife I am totally shocked and horrified that whilst he was in your nursing home at Elm View he was allowed to deteriorate to this level,” she added.
She said she had trusted the nursing home to take good care of her husband in her absence and was devastated to find he had been so severely neglected during the space of just one week.
In a reply to the letter Bentley, who is on trial accused of four neglect charges involving residents at the home, said he was deeply sorry to learn of her concerns and an internal investigation would be undertaken by the home’s manager.
In a later letter Bentley, 65, of Woodthorpe Drive, Sandal, Wakefield, said Mr Ball had “pined” for his wife during his stay and had only eaten small amounts of food.
He said a “small blister” had been dressed and prior to his discharge from the home that had been changed.
Bentley suggested in the letter that Mr Ball had not had a pressure sore during his stay at the home.
“We assure you he was very well looked after by all out staff,” he added.
Simpson, 49, of Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, is also on trial having denied the four neglect allegations which relate to Mr Ball and three elderly female residents.
The jury also heard allegations from nurse Raja Hussain who claimed that Simpson threatened him with suspension if he did not change a statement he had written following Mrs Ball’s complaint.
Mr Hussain said Simpson was unhappy because his statement had mentioned the pressure sore and when he asked to see Mr Ball’s care plan records he was told they were missing.
He alleged that Simpson had behaved unprofessionally by threatening to suspend him and he subsequently submitted a letter of resignation to Bentley.
The trial continues.