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Families calling for improvements in elderly care

The daughter of a pensioner who died after being over-administered a blood thinning drug whilst staying at a Sussex nursing home has spoken of her anger that ‘horrific’ standards went undetected for so long.

Linzi Collings, daughter of Jean Halfpenny, said nothing could have prepared her for the ‘shocking’ evidence she heard about care standards at Orchid View Care Home where her mum was a resident from November 2009 until her death in May 2010 aged 77.

She insists that improvements must be made to stop the same failings being repeated.

In this day and age you expect measures to be in place to protect vulnerable members of society from being subjected to such horrendously poor care.

Our mum deserved to be treated with dignity and compassion but Orchid View failed to provide her with even a basic level of care, despite being paid a significant amount of money to do so.

– Linzi Collings, daughter of pensioner Jean Halfpenny who died

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Police called after 28 drug errors made in one night

Lisa Martin, a former care home worker who alerted police to failing at the Orchid View care home in Copthorne, said she the "final straw" for her came when she was told by a nurse that 28 drug errors had been made on just one night shift.

Lisa Martin, who alerted the police to care failings within Orchid View care home. Credit: Press Association

She called police who arrived the next day.

The coroner said 19 residents at Orchid View suffered "sub-optimal" care. All of those residents died from natural causes, she ruled. But five of those died from natural causes "which had been attributed to by neglect", Ms Schofield ruled.

They were Wilfred Gardner, 85, Margaret Tucker, 77, Enid Trodden, 86, John Holmes, 85, and Jean Halfpenny, 77.

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Care home worker: 'I couldn't live with knowledge of abuse'

Speaking outside the inquest, Lisa Martin, who first informed police of the problems at the care home, said she felt she had no choice but to come forward:

I came forward because I had witnessed too much poor management and care to vulnerable adults and I couldn't live with the knowledge any longer and felt I had no choice but to tell the police.

Morally I know I did the right thing but personally I have not worked for two years and the case has had a huge impact on my life.

However, I wouldn't want to dissuade people from doing the right thing if they see vulnerable elderly people being abused and neglected.

Speaking of her former colleagues, she added: "They shouldn't be allowed to work in the industry."

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'Institutionalised abuse from the top down' at home

Penelope Schofield, the West Sussex coroner, said:

There was institutionalised abuse throughout the home and it started, in my view, at a very early stage, and nobody did anything about it.

This, to me, was from the top down. It was completely mismanaged and understaffed and failed to provide a safe environment for residents.

Ms Schofield said it was "disgraceful" that the home was allowed to be run in the way it was for around two years. She criticised the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which gave Orchid View a "good" rating in 2010 - a year before it shut.

I question how this could be the case and I question whether the inspection that did take place was fit for purpose.

It's a heart-breaking case. We all have parents who will probably need care in the latter part of their lives.

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Coroner: Those involved in neglect should be 'ashamed'

Orchard View care home in Copthorne, West Sussex. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Penelope Schofield, the West Sussex coroner, said there was "institutionalised abuse" at Orchid View care home in Copthorne.

She said those involved in the neglect of pensioners at the now defunct home should be "ashamed" as it was announced a serious case review has been set up.

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"Institutionalised abuse" at care home

A coroner has ruled that neglect contributed to the deaths of five elderly people who died after staying at a care home which has come under fierce criticism.

Penelope Schofield, the West Sussex coroner, said there was "institutionalised abuse" at Orchid View care home in Copthorne.

She said those involved in the neglect of pensioners at the now defunct home should be "ashamed" as it was announced a serious case review has been set up.

A five-week inquest heard how some residents were given wrong doses of medication, left soiled and unattended due to staff shortages and there was a lack of management.

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Relatives tell of neglect inside Orchard View care home

Doris Fielding, one of 19 elderly residents who died at Orchid View care home in Copthorne, West Sussex. Credit: Family handout.

Relatives of the 19 elderly people who died inside Orchard View care home in Copthorne, West Sussex, told an inquest into their deaths they were concerned about the levels of care inside the home.

Call bells were often not answered for long periods of time, and in some cases were in places that the residents could not reach.

Relatives said their loved ones were not tended to properly, were often left unattended and physically inactive for long periods of time, and were not given any mental stimulation or attention by staff.

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