Dementia patient died after being left at ‘unsafe’ care home

Michael Yemm

Michael Yemm died after several falls at his care home - Credit: The Yemm Family

A dementia patient died after being placed in a care home which was “totally unsuitable” for him, despite warnings from his family.

The treatment of 77-year old Michael Yemm, from Hethersett, has been criticised by Norfolk’s coroner Yvonne Blake, who said there was a risk of future deaths if action was not taken.

She has written to Norfolk County Council and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) after they left him at the care home - where he had a series of falls - despite being told the home could not look after him.

At an inquest on Tuesday, Ms Blake found Mr Yemm died from advanced dementia, a fractured hip and heart disease.

After the hearing she raised her concerns with the chief executive of the hospital, Sam Higginson, and director of adult social services at the county council, James Bullion.

Ms Blake said the home, which has not been named, was “unsafe” for Mr Yemm.

His wife, Chris, said: “I made it quite clear to the council that I didn’t want him put into that home. Not because I have anything against them, but I felt he needed to be in a nursing home for dementia patients and with adequate medical facilities."

“He was in distress unnecessarily. I fought for four months to find him a suitable home and felt let down by social services.

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"I can’t believe in the whole of Norfolk there was nowhere for him to be looked after during the last months of his life.”

She added: “As much as he had falls and other issues, I can’t blame the hospital or care home staff because it was not altogether their fault, particularly in the light of the current Covid situation. It is the system that is wrong."

Mrs Yemm also wrote to Mr Bullion twice with her concerns but said she had not received a reply.

Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, recorded a verdict of accidental death at the inquest of Wil

Norfolk coroner's court - Credit: Simon Parkin

Mr Yemm developed dementia in 2017 and was cared for at home by his family until he needed more help in May last year.

He was taken to hospital and then placed in a residential home, where he had several falls and was taken to hospital.

Each time he was discharged from the NNUH he had to self-isolate which the coroner said increased his distress.

After he was taken to hospital a second time the care home manager told the NNUH they would not take him as they could not look after him.

But despite this, the hospital drove him back without notifying the home and left him there. He was also discharged on insulin which the home did not have any trained staff to administer.

He became ill and was taken back to the NNUH for a third time and had another fall while in a bay.

The inquest heard he climbed over the bed rails and fell, fracturing his left hip, despite staff being present.

He was operated on but his condition deteriorated and he died on October 4 last year.

Mrs Yemm said her husband’s greatest love was his family and dancing. He had two children and five grandchildren. He worked for HM Stationery Office for many years and taught Latin and Ballroom dancing across Norfolk.

An NNUH spokesman said: “Our deepest condolences are with the family of Mr Yemm following their loss and we will be responding to the coroner with an action plan in due course.”

The council said it was not in a position to comment. 


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