SIBLINGS who were mistakenly told their mother had died by a care home have spoken of their anguish and disgust after the blunder.
Richard Jones, 42, and his sister Niki Thomas, 46, were left heartbroken when staff from the Fairlight Residential and Nursing Care Home, in Worthing Road, Rustington, broke the news of their mother, Josephine Jones’ apparent death on Thursday.
However, to Richard’s horror, when he arrived at the site the next day to take away his mother’s belongings, staff pulled him aside and told him about the shocking error.
Tragically, on Monday, their mother did die, forcing the family to relive the trauma of her death for a second time in nearly as many days.
Father-of-two Richard, of The Oval, in Findon, said: “My sister and I were both absolutely appalled. My wife was in shock and my children were in tears.
“We just feel like someone has played the worst practical joke on us ever. I would rather have had a cod slapped in my face.
“We just feel like someone has played the worst practical joke on us ever. I would rather have had a cod slapped in my face.”Richard Jones
“To walk in and see my mum, all chirpy, was a shock.”
He added: “We’ve had to live through my mum dying twice, which has just been horrible.”
Widow Mrs Jones, 71, had been admitted to the home at the beginning of January, following a hip operation at Worthing Hospital late last year.
Following her treatment, Mrs Jones’ health rapidly deteriorated forcing her family to find her a place in a residential home.
Speaking of when the home’s error was revealed, Mr Jones said: “I wanted to kill someone. I’m not a violent person but I was absolutely fuming.
“I didn’t want to listen to the nurse’s apology.”
Former A&E nurse Niki, who lives in Blackpool, added: ”I am absolutely mortified by what the home has done because I’m a qualified nurse and I have dealt with people who have passed away and their families.
“I have never dealt with anyone like this. I’m completely and utterly blown away by it. What they did was unforgivable.
“To have my nephew come up to me and say, ‘Aunty Niki, is granny really dead?’ was just heartbreaking.”
Mr Jones has been left so devastated by the news that he has taken time away from his work as a railway engineer with Southern Rail, in Brighton.
He added the incident had traumatised his two children, Aimee, 11, and Caeden, nine, who were close to their gran.
“Aimee is in year-seven at Angmering and said, ‘What am I going to tell my friends? They will think I’ve been lying’,” he said. “But the school’s been great and took her close friends aside to explain what’s happened.”
A spokesman for Forever Care Ltd, which runs the home, said: “Forever Care Ltd accepts that there was an unfortunate incident regarding miscommunication which has caused the family and friends additional distress at what was already a very upsetting time.
“The company apologises emphatically for this avoidable error, and we would like to assure all those involved that the matter was given upmost priority and investigated fully.
“As a consequence of this, the member of staff involved no longer works for the company.”