Care Home Safe Holding: Alzheimer’s man (90) punched to death by fellow resident

February 8, 2016

Dennis Bryant died in November 2013 at the age of 90 after fellow Alzheimers patient, Michael Hall, went into his room in Westcott House Nursing Home in Dorking and punched him several times in his bed.

The attacker, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in June 2013, was admitted to East Surrey Hospital with a police escort that August after an incident at a day care in which he shouted and threatened others with his walking stick.

http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/alzheimers-patient-looked-like-gone-10827588

Delivering a narrative conclusion, coroner Alison Hewitt said she would compile a report making recommendations to West Sussex County Council over the withdrawal of a safeguarding alert on Mr Hall and their risk assessments, to Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust about its risk assessment protocol and the wording of crucial forms, and to the Secretary of State for Health about streamlined information gathering between authorities and guidance for the protection of bedbound patients.

ISSUES IN BRIEF:

This case highlights (yet again) the need for agencies and care home managers to recognise a history of violence as a significant risk factor when admitting a resident to a care home.  There continue to be tragic stories of lives ruined, changed or prematurely ended when residents with alzheimers or other forms of dementia who present with violence are not properly risk assessed.  This puts staff, other residents and ultimately the organisations at risk.

It also highlights the need for staff in care homes to be trained to deal with violent incidents if and when they occur (dependent on the quality of their risk assessment and admission policies as above).  Just last week we had a care home owner jailed for his failures when he was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3434115/Negligent-care-home-boss-England-jailed-corporate-manslaughter-widow-86-died-weighing-four-stone.html

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Gerard O'Dea is the Director of Training for Dynamis. Training Advisor, Speaker, Author and Expert Witness on Personal Safety, Conflict Management and Physical Interventions, he is the European Advisor for Vistelar Conflict Management, a global programme focussing on the spectrum of human conflict.

Gerard O'Dea

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