Five nurses struck off over Parkside House neglect

Five care home nurses who neglected pensioners at a scandal-hit care-home where five residents died in a fortnight were struck off today.

Home manager Phyllis Johnson together with nurses Anastacia Madulu, Girlie Franklin, Maria McKenzie, and Mary Ombu allowed elderly men and women to exist on a diet of mainly porridge.

They suffered pressure sores so deep that the bone was exposed.

One elderly woman was found with skin that was ‘paper thin and dry’, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

The abuse came to light after five residents aged between 83 and 100 died in just two weeks at the Parkside House Nursing Home in Northampton.

The chairman of the tribunal, Michael Cann, said the suffering of the elderly residents was a ‘direct result’ of the nurses’ neglect.

He said: “The panel is of the view that the residents of the home were elderly people, suffering from both mental and physical disabilities and in most cases were also assessed as lacking mental capacity to make decisions regarding their care.

“Those people were unable to care for themselves, extremely vulnerable and completely reliant on the registered nurses at the home.

“A number of residents were found to be suffering from severe grade four pressure sores which had not been correctly treated and which in some cases were so deep that tendons and/or bones were exposed.

“They were malnourished, some were dehydrated and lived in a care home that was described as run-down, filthy, and stocked with faulty or inappropriate equipment.”

The neglect at Parkside House emerged when an elderly woman was admitted to Northampton General Hospital on 21 July 2009 with agonising pressure sores on her heels which exposed her bones and tendons.

She died the following day, exhibiting signs of dehydration and malnourishment.

Another resident with severe pressure sores died on the same day, while three people were shipped out of the home over fears for their health.

The third vulnerable pensioner died in a community hospital on July 28 while two died in separate care homes on August 4 and 6.

Alzheimer’s sufferer Doreen Sheridan, aged 83, died on August 4 after contracting bronchopneumonia which doctors said was caused by a lack of movement.

A serious case review into the deaths found the ‘causes considered to be consistent with the effects of severe neglect’.

Healthcare manager Karen Stagg undertook an assessment of some of the residents on 24 July 2009 following ‘serious concerns’ about the care provided.

Mrs Stagg reported a series of fundamental failings, including staff who could not use basic equipment, residents fed ‘mainly porridge’ and meaningless care plans that were out of date.

One pressure sore she inspected was seven centimetres across and six centimetres deep - deep enough to ‘feel the bone’, the panel heard.

Parkside House’s remaining residents were moved out and its registration was cancelled.

Mr Cann said: “This is not just a case of wide ranging and multiple clinical failings over a significant period of time.

“This is also a case where clinical failings occurred because Ms Johnson showed a complete lack of care or empathy for the residents at the home.

“Ms Johnson had been warned by several other registrants that the nutrition provided was poor and the care was inadequate.

“Yet Ms Johnson did nothing for at least five months to resolve this situation and protect those vulnerable people.

“During this period Ms Johnson was also personally providing nursing care to those people on at least 79 separate days.”

The five were found to have failed to provide basic care for ten residents.