‘We warned care home mum was being attacked but they couldn’t stop it’
- Credit: Archant
A family repeatedly complained to a care home that their elderly mother was being attacked by another resident in the weeks before he pushed her over and she died.
Doreen Livermore, 89, died six weeks after breaking her hip when she was shoved over by a violent man in Amberley Hall Care Home on Baldock Drive, King's Lynn.
The man, who had dementia, attacked staff and residents nine times in the weeks leading up to the assault, including Mrs Livermore three times.
Speaking out today for the first time, her children, Roy Livermore and Valerie Wheddon said they warned Amberley Hall for months about the man attacking other residents and staff.
"I complained at least half a dozen times," said her daughter, 69. "Each time we left it because the manager said nothing could be done."
An investigation into Mrs Livermore's death by the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board, published last week, found "clear indications" that the man was a risk.
A spokesman for the home said: "We sincerely regret the series of events that led to such to such a sad outcome and our thoughts remain with the loved ones of the residents involved."
By December the great-grandmother's family was getting desperate.
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On December 15, 2017, four days before the attack, her son called Norfolk County Council's emergency line.
"I think she is at risk," he told the operator. "He has attacked a couple of the carers and yesterday he attacked my mother. I'm concerned that over the weekend something else will happen. One of these ladies will become seriously injured."
Dr Livermore, 67, got a call back the next day and was told the council's safeguarding team was looking at his complaint and the home would be advised how to reduce risks to residents.
He warned them it was urgent, and somebody was going to get "seriously hurt". The caller told him it was being dealt with.
Mrs Wheddon also complained to Amberley Hall on December 15 after her mother was attacked for the third time by the man.
"We feel we have been very patient... and something now has to be done, urgently, to remove this danger," she wrote to the general manager and operations manager.
"The next time someone could be severely injured."
Their worst fears came true four days later.
On December 19 Mrs Livermore was walking back to her ward after listening to a carol concert when she got into an argument with the man.
By this point the home had given the man his own carer but they were unable to stop her being pushed over.
A report into the attack said Mrs Livermore was "verbally aggressive" to the man and both became agitated before he pushed her against a wall.
Mrs Wheddon said she got a phone call around lunchtime saying her mum had fallen over.
"We found her sitting in a chair and found out she had been pushed over," she said. "We didn't know at that point how severe the injuries were, but she had a large lump on her head."
An ambulance took her to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn and her hip was operated on. She returned to the home in January 2018, but she refused to eat and drink and never recovered.
"We were going in every day to try and feed her yoghurt, but she just was not eating at all," said Mrs Wheddon.
On her 89th birthday the doctor told her family to expect the worst and they rushed to the home.
"When we got there the care home had put balloons and cards on her door. They didn't seem to be aware she was about to die," Mrs Wheddon said.
The investigation discovered at least nine attacks in his six months at the home against staff and residents.
"We were shocked because the care home had assured us previously that they had given us full details of all the incidents," Dr Livermore said.
Amberley Hall, which is run by Athena Care UK, said: "Our top priorities remain the safety and wellbeing of all the residents living at our care home and we are committed to learning from these events."
They said of 21 recommendations made by the investigation, three related to the care home and all had been followed.
Mrs Livermore had three children, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
She lived in Ilford, Essex, for most of her life, working as a child minder and dress maker.
The family said that before the attack their mother was physically healthy and would sing, chat and dance, despite her dementia.
-Second death investigated
Doreen Livermore's death was the second at Amberley Hall care home which has been investigated by the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board.
An elderly man, referred to by investigators as Mr G, died in hospital on November 22 2017 after staying at the care home.
Mr G, who had dementia, was discharged from a psychiatric hospital outside of Norfolk in November 2017 and went to live at the care home.
The report said the home had "significant" difficulties giving Mr G adequate care, as he was often challenging and refused it.
"The ambulance crew who admitted Mr G to hospital were so concerned about Mr G's physical state that they made a safeguarding referral," it said.
The report raised concerns about decision-making.
They wrote: "There was evidence of both residents experiencing, or being placed at risk of experiencing, abuse and/or neglect."