Hoxton nursing home ‘not to blame’ for 90-year-old’s death

Anne Rowe celebrating her father's birthday

Anne Rowe celebrating her father's birthday - Credit: Archant

The distraught daughter of a 90-year-old with a “lust for life” who died following a fall at a nursing home spoke of her grief during a court hearing on Monday.

Anne Rowe believes more could have been done to prevent her father’s death at the Mary Seacole Nursing Home in Nuttall Street, Hoxton – but the coroner found staff there were not to blame.

William Rowe died on October 16, two weeks after falling in his room and breaking his leg. His lack of mobility because of the break led to him contracting the pneumonia that killed him.

At his inquest at Poplar Coroner’s Court, Coroner Jacqueline Devonish said Mr Rowe’s death was “accidental” with staff “acting in an appropriate and reasonable” manner to try prevent the death of the 90-year-old

Mr Rowe had dementia and was “unsteady on his feet” but remained an active man who loved day trips. His desire to stay active despite his condition led to staff at Homerton Hospital recommending 24-hour one-to-one care at the nursing home in July 2014.

This meant a carer or nurse should always have been in or in the vicinity of Mr Rowe’s room at all times, the inquest heard.

But Mrs Rowe, who visited her father twice a day, told the court she found him alone twice – including once when she found him on the toilet with no one around.

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“I just wish my father could have died with dignity and not in great pain or suffering,” she told Ms Devonish.

“All I wanted was for him to be comfortable and pain-free.”

Anne and her brother Christopher heard how the death of the 90-year-old was an “unfortunate accident”.

The nursing home’s manager Roy Tecson told the court how staff undertook thorough training but conceded that they “do not get it right all the time”.

“It was an unfortunate accident that happened,” he said.

“I do not believe any mistakes were made on the morning of the fall.

“[But] I believe in a learning culture and we do not get it right all the time.

“We are looking into the protocols and the provision of one-to-one care. There are certainly things we could continue to improve.”

The court heard how the care Mr Rowe received was very “unusual” due to the physical strength he had.

A Homerton Hospital spokesman said after the inquest: “We would offer our sincere condolences to Mr Rowe’s family.

“We also take note of the coroner’s comments that everything that should and could have been done was done and there was nothing that could have prevented Mr Rowe’s fall.”