Grandmother, 92, left 'begging and screaming' on floor of care home for more than 20 minutes after fall
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A family is campaigning to get cameras installed in care homes across the county after a 92-year-old grandmother was left "begging and screaming" on the floor of her bedroom after a fall.
Dorothy Selwood fell to the floor of her room in the Blossoms Care Home in Greenhithe, Kent after attempting to reach a chair opposite her bed. The elderly woman was then seen in footage sourced from a camera placed in the room by her own family, banging and screaming in an attempt to attract the attention of a member of staff.
They failed to attend to the elderly resident for a total of 22 minutes. Samantha Tyson, Ms Selwood's granddaughter, said that her grandmother was labelled as a "high fall risk" by the care facility and had previously fallen with fears from the family that she would slip again.
She added: "The night of the video it was dark. She tried to get to the chair. She slipped and fell.
"The fall mat did not alert staff as it was faulty and she lay screaming and banging for 22 minutes. Her stick was across the room and her frame nowhere to be seen.
"Finally when two members of staff finally came they shouted and asked her 'Why are you on the floor?' Then both walked out without comforting her or asking if she was ok or hurt."
One day later, Ms Selwood was admitted to hospital where she caught a chest infection. She died in hospital ten days after her initial fall.
The family were only alerted to the wait time to took for Ms Selwood to receive attention after they reviewed the footage while she was in the hospital. Ms Tyson said that she and her relatives were horrified by the footage.
Ms Tyson said that it "breaks my heart to think that she suffered so much in her final days."
She continued: "If we didn’t have cameras we’d not have known how uncaring and uncompassionate the staff were. We’d be always wondering if nan's claims of bad staff behaviour were from a confused lady or genuine. Now we know and other relatives should be able to have cameras too."
Ms Tyson said that the family took the decision to install the camera after her grandmother told family members that she was frightened of the night staff in the care home. She added: "My nan told us they were not treating her well so we put cameras in with the manager's consent and also Nan's consent. She felt safer once we installed the camera as we could access it 24/7 and talk to her through it."
She added that the family would not be pursuing legal action and she initially did not want to name the care home, but felt she had to after posting the footage of Ms Selwood's fall online. Comments came through on social media from concerned families with relatives in different facilities, with Ms Tyson breaking her silence to reassure any fears.
Blossoms Care Home refused to comment on the matter but released a statement to local media that read: “Our staff followed the appropriate procedures to deal with the incident. A full report was provided to Kent County Council Safeguarding team where there was no findings of neglect.
“This report highlighted some areas of practice which could be improved, and action was taken to do so. The home manager, staff and I feel, it was an unfortunate incident, it is regrettable, and we fully empathise with Ms Selwood’s family.”
Ms Tyson also reiterated that the family's belief is that the majority of care home staff are professional and caring, stating that they "work so hard and are completely unappreciated". She said: "The majority of carers are compassionate and lovely and treat residents like family. They are understaffed and under a lot of pressure day to day.
"They work long hours and do an amazing job. The few bad carers are a very small percentage.
"To all the lovely people that have compassion for what my nan went through, I see them and recognise them for the angels there are. Our old people need protecting and the system needs to change."
A Change.org campaign has now been launched by Ms Selwood's family to call for the mandatory installation of 24/7 cameras in every room to avoid these situations in the future.