"Rise in the presence of the aged, and show respect for the elderly."



Inquest reveals probe into nursing home

A HISTORY of poor practice at a Radlett nursing home was revealed during an inquest last week.

Houndswood House nursing home in Harper Lane came under policeinvestigation in 2004 to discover whether any gross negligence,tantamount to corporate manslaughter, had taken place there.

Hertfordshire Constabulary became involved after concerns were

raisedby staff at Hatford General Hospital about the condition of

four patients who had been admitted from the home.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sparrow said that the four were

exhibiting symptoms such as pressure sores and dehydration

suggesting they might have been neglected and a multi-agency

investigation was launched.

An inquest held last Wednesday into the death of former Houndswood

resident Robert Chin was held to determine the factors that contributed

to his death.

Although not one of the four patients who had generated suspicion

among Watford General staff originally, Mr Chin’s condition when he

entered hospital, in August 2004, was similar to theirs.

A 65-year-old man, suffering from severe dementia and immobility,

he was dehydrated, malnourished and had pressure-related ulcers

infected with MRSA. Consultant physician at Watford General Hospital

Dr William Wallace said Mr Chin’s sodium level, an indication of

dehydration, was among the highest he had ever seen. However,

Mr Chin contracted an infection while in hospital and died on August 10.

Coroner Edward Thomas listed the causes of his death as multiple

organ failure and sepsis (infections), caused ultimately by his dementia.

He also listed Mr Chin’s infected pressure sores as a significant contributory

factor to his death.

The inquest heard Mr Chin had been transferred to Houndswood from

hospital after a residential care home could no longer cope with his condition.

The coroner’s narrative verdict on Mr Chin’s death, based on evidence

from the police investigation, stated that there was little documentation

kept by the home to show whether adequate care had been given for

treatment of the ulcers.

She said that national minimum standards were now almost being met.