Coroner’s concern over OAP’s fall death
A CORONER is to write to a Macclesfield-based housing association about its procedures after an elderly woman died following a fall at home.
Kathleen Eaton, 85, died in hospital on February 5 after suffering subdural and subarachnoid haemorrhages – bleeding around the brain.
At an inquest into her death, coroner John Pollard concluded the bleeding could have been as a result of a head injury caused by ‘one or more’ falls she had had at home.
The inquest heard from Mrs Eaton’s son, Kenneth Blaymire, who explained that his mum was unsteady on her feet and rarely left her home in Redhouse Lane, Disley, after having her knee replaced in 2003.
On January 26, 10 days before her death, Mrs Eaton used her emergency call button to summon help from Peaks and Plains Housing Trust, after falling in her bedroom and being unable to get up. Community trust link officer Sarah Wallace, an NVQ level 2 health worker, responded to the call and found Mrs Eaton face down on the floor at around 5.55am.
She asked if Mrs Eaton was injured and if she needed an ambulance, but Mrs Eaton said she was okay.
She helped her off the floor with the support of an air cushion device and back into bed.
Mrs Wallace told the inquest she carried out visual checks and Mrs Eaton did not have any visible injuries, but complained of pain in her wrist.
Mrs Wallace told the inquest, if she had any reason to believe a customer had a head injury, she would not move them.
Before leaving, Mrs Wallace left details of the incident for Mrs Eaton’s carers, who she knew were coming to the house at around 8.30am.
Mr Pollard queried why the trust did not have a policy for staff to ask people who had suffered a fall if they had hit their head – regardless of whether they complain of pain or not.
Returning a verdict of accidental death, Mr Pollard said: “I have no evidence that anyone did anything wrong or caused her harm, but I am concerned about the responses to the emergency call.
“There are certain aspects that I find rather difficult to accept.
“I will be writing to Peaks and Plains Housing Trust about their training, policies, procedures and guidance.
“Having said all that, her fall was an accident.”