Concerns over Blackpool care company following death of D-Day hero

Coroner Alan Wilson
Coroner Alan Wilson

A coroner has called for a care company to review its procedures after a D-Day veteran was left by a worker slumped half-naked in front of a fire following a visit lasting just seven minutes.

Blackpool and the Fylde coroner Alan Wilson has called on Safehands Care Ltd to respond to his concerns after hearing at an inquest that 94-year-old Dennis Oldland’s carer had left his South Shore after a flying visit and without talking to the elderly man.

During the visit - scheduled to last 25 minutes, the carer noticed that Mr Oldland was sitting, naked from the waste down, in front of a blazing fire watching TV.

The following morning, November 5, last year, he was discovered by another carer semi-conscious and with a deep burn to his leg.

While being treated at hospital Mr Oldland was made the subject of a ‘no resuscitation’ order and later died after suffering a stroke.

However, the coroner ruled: “The injury was deep and did play more than a minimal role in his death.”

At an inquest last month, Mr Wilson recorded a cause of death as ‘a stroke, advanced frailty and burn injury’. He said the visit by carer Julie Greenwood was “inadequate” but fell short of neglect.

Now, in a Report To Prevent Further Deaths, he has criticised the level of care supplied by the Blackpool-based care company.

“The carer knew that visit was expected to last at least 25 minutes but in actual fact she was in Mr Oldland’s house for no more than approximately seven-and-a-half minutes.

“Although the length of that visit was affected by the fact she felt uncomfortable about Mr Oldland being naked from the waist down upon her arrival, her departure from the property after such a brief period was not felt to be justified or appropriate.”

Mr Wilson added that Mr Oldland was confused during the visit and if the carer had spent more time in his company she may have realised it was not safe to leave him half-naked and so near the fire.”

In his letter to Safehands, which the firm must respond to within 56 days, Mr Wilson said: “In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken.

“I have a concern that carers may leave a service user’s home prematurely, confident that the service user appears well, but in reality unaware of an issue that would have, with more time and interaction, become apparent.”

The inquest in Blackpool was told how Mr Oldland – a D-Day veteran and wartime motorcycle dispatch rider -–lived alone.

He had carers visit him four times each day from Safehands, 0f Seasiders Way. Safehands Care Ltd said it accepted the coroner’s findings and it would review its care policies and procedures, but added it was “satisfied that all necessary training and procedures are in place”.

The firm said it accepted the coroner’s findings and it would review its care policies and procedures, but added it was “satisfied that all necessary and appropriate training and procedures are in place”.