Settlement for family of 90-year-old woman who died after attack in Ashover care home
The daughter of a woman who died after twice being attacked by a dementia sufferer in the care home where she lived has been awarded an undisclosed settlement for her mother's suffering.
Jill Gregory says her mother Enid was never the same person following the two assaults committed eight days apart by another female resident at the Grove House residential care home in Ashover on December 18, 2012. Her health deteriorated and she lost her independence, mobility and dignity.
Jill instructed specialist personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done by the owners of the home, Peak Care, to prevent her mother suffering extensive bruising, muscle damage and, ultimately, death.
The courts awarded Jill an undisclosed settlement when the insurers from Peak Care failed to acknowledge or attend proceedings.
Jill, 61, said: "I have always believed the trauma resulting from the attacks led to a rapid deterioration in my mother's physical and mental health.
"My mother was very settled at Grove House and was generally healthy, mentally alert and independent for a 90-year-old woman. That quickly changed after she was attacked and she never returned to being the woman I recognised as my mother.
"She was never able to walk again without the assistance of a nurse or carer.
"Doctors told me that the trauma of the assaults was likely to have impacted on her physical and mental health.
"In my view she should never have been the victim of assault in the room which had become her home and where she should have been safe from harm.
"I wanted answers from the care home about why more wasn't done to protect my mother, especially after the first attack. I would like reassurances from Peak Care that steps have been taken to prevent similar incidents happening in the future.
"I'm obviously disappointed that little seems to have been done by Peak Care to acknowledge its failings or act upon them to secure the safety of other residents.
"I'm grateful to Irwin Mitchell for investigating the circumstances around my mother's care and now the matter is closed I look forward to remembering my mother during better times."
Enid suffered a severe heart attack caused by septicaemia and pneumonia and died aged 91 at Chesterfield Royal Hospital on April 17, 2013.
An unannounced Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection of Grove House in May this year concluded that the service provided at the home was not always safe.
Katy Bailey, an expert personal injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell's Sheffield office, said: "Jill watched her mother go from a strong woman in relatively good health to see her deteriorate so quickly following the attack.
"The attacks which Enid suffered eight days apart were frightening and it was important to find out whether more could have been done by Peak Care to prevent them occurring, particularly in the case of the second assault, given that they were already aware of the first assault."
A Grove House spokesman said: "We offer our condolences to the family of Enid Gregory.
"We've got sufficient procedures in place for all residents at Peak Care.
"Derbyshire County Council says we're safe and the CQC verbally stated it's a safe environment.
"We weren't invited to attend the proceedings," the spokesman added.