WORTHING HOSPITAL has strengthened its measures to prevent elderly patients falling in the ward following the death of a Worthing man last year.
At an inquest into the death of Henry Green, it was heard the 89-year-old fell on the emergency floor in Worthing Hospital on September 20, 2014. As a result of the fall, Mr Green suffered an acute subdural haematoma (head injury).
The retired postman went to Worthing Hospital on September 19, 2014, following a fall at Chiltingtons Residential Home in Worthing, where he had round-the-clock care.
Daughter-in-law, Deirdre Green, said following Mr Green’s fall at the hospital she wanted to clarify with Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation why he was not wearing non-slip socks as he was considered a high risk patient for falling.
She also asked if the bed railings had been raised, why a sensory mat was not in place, and if his medication had affected his balance.
Philip Morris was the nurse on duty at the time of Mr Green’s fall. He said he did not witness the incident, but had been observing Mr Green walking about.
Mr Morris said: “He seemed to be very active and wanted to walk around the bay with his zimmer frame.”
Due to Mr Green’s bedsores, Mr Morris asked to have a specialist mattress put in place. Western Sussex Hospitals representative, Parveen Sharma, said there was documentation to indicate Mr Green had refused to have bed rails.
Mr Morris explained that a sensory mat, used to detect if a patient had left their bed, could not be used as it would inhibit the benefits of the pressure-relieving mattress.
After the fall, Mr Morris said he felt behind Mr Green’s head and found a very large lump. A week following the fall, Mr Green passed away on October 26, 2014. He was also suffering from pneumonia and pancreatic cancer.
Ward manager James Walker said that although Mr Green had been using his own slippers earlier that day, non-slip socks would have been ideal to use for when he was in bed. He also said it is now routine for staff to hold ‘safety huddle’ meetings to discuss high-risk patients and non-slip socks were readily available on every ward.
Assistant coroner Elisabeth Jones concluded that is was an accidental death and Mr Green died of the acute subdural haematoma as a result of his fall. His pancreatic cancer was also ruled as a secondary contributing factor.
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