Dublin nursing home delayed medical treatment for woman, 88, who broke wrist while in care
Rose Flood ended up in hospital with horrific bruising just three days after moving into Highfield Healthcare in Swords, Co Dublin
A nursing home has admitted there was a delay in identifying that an 88-year-old woman broke her wrist in its care – and still does not know how it happened.
Ann McCauley said her frail mum Rose Flood ended up in hospital with horrific bruising just three days after moving into Highfield Healthcare in Swords, Co Dublin.
After the family complained, the nursing home’s probe into the injuries revealed a nurse examined the wrong patient and admitted it needed to improve staff communication.
The family said staff never contacted them about their mum’s bruising, sustained in the Drishogue Unit of Highfield’s Alzheimer’s Care Centre.
Ann added: “She was in pain but she couldn’t remember what had happened to her.
“And I understand elderly people bruise but the marks and bruising on her body were bad.
“My siblings and I feel so much guilt this has happened because no one wants to put their parents in a home.
“I have to take a stance to show what has happened to my mother.
“I owe it to her, people like my mum need a voice and I don’t want any other family to have to go through this again.”
Rose has dementia, is registered blind and is at high-risk of falling, as noted by the home on her admission on April 1.
A female family member noticed a large bruise on her forehead and was horrified it had not been reported.
She also claimed she found Dubliner Rose sitting in a wet pad soaked through to her wheelchair while in an activity area.
Ann said her sister noticed her mother’s left arm was swollen and it appeared to be broken on April 3.
She added: “She was changing my mother’s clothes when she noticed bruising all over her body and her swollen arm.
“She requested an ambulance which took my mother to the Mater Hospital where they told us she had a Colles’ fracture to her wrist.
“The nursing home doesn’t have any record of a fall and say they don’t know how it happened but if my mother fell, someone had to pick her up.
“My mother had complained to staff her wrist was sore but staff actually checked the other woman that was in the room so she was left in pain for hours.
“I was so horrified when I saw the state she was in at the hospital.”
Ann said her family made a written complaint to the nursing home in a bid to find out what happened.
Highfield Healthcare initiated its own investigation into the complaint and informed health watchdog HIQA.
The report, seen by the Irish Mirror, said regarding the bruising on Rose’s forehead, it was an “unexplained injury”. But it also claimed Rose told a nurse she had “banged her head off the wall.”
The report stated the review team were unable to identify exactly how she sustained a fracture to her wrist.
It noted there was no reported incidents of the fall and it was not witnessed by a staff member.
It admitted there was a delay in identifying the fracture and said: “There was a miscommunication on April 2 where the nurse on duty understood that the resident in the second bed in the shared room had complained of wrist pain.”
The review also outlined a number of recommendations to the service they provided.
These included “a need to improve staff communication,” and the implementation of a falls management plan specific to newly admitted residents at high risk of falls.
Ann said she would not put her mother back into a nursing home and now her family is trying to cope with her care. She added: “I know not all nursing homes are the same and I don’t want to scare anyone but I just want people to check on their loved ones.”
A spokeswoman for Highfield Healthcare told the Irish Mirror: “The Alzheimer’s Care Centre deeply regrets any harm that occurs to a resident while in our care.
“We fully investigate adverse incidents to improve patient care and to learn from them to ensure they are not repeated.
“Unfortunately we are unable to comment on individual cases.”