Rest home resident found lying at roadside
A rest home has been ordered to tighten its procedures after an elderly resident was found lying at the side of a busy road.
The woman was returned to the home, where staff were not aware that she had gone missing.
Now the Government's Ageing and Disability Services, which regulates the sector, has ordered the St Moritz Seniors Residential Home in Southampton to boost security, carry out staff training and make other changes in the wake of the “high-risk” incident.
The incident came to light after Krista Tatem, a dementia care specialist, stopped to help the elderly lady, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, as she lay on the sidewalk on South Road in Southampton.
Ms Tatem said she returned the woman to the nearby privately run home.
She added: “I went up there and there was no one around. I went in and asked if they were missing anyone.
“The woman said ‘no' and then she saw my car and she could see her through the window.”
Ms Tatem said she was shocked at the treatment of the elderly woman by Elizabeth Perret, the operator and administrator of the home, after she took her back to St Moritz.
She added: “The staff member had her arm hooked under the lady's arm but the way she was holding her hand had her wrist twisted under.
“I was saying should we just slow down but she dragged her in. The lady was saying that the staff member was hurting her hand.
I told her I was a dementia care specialist but Ms Perret talked over me saying ‘I know how to handle my residents' and just dragged her off.”
Ms Tatem added: “I said to the staff member, ‘That woman does not need to be dragged down the hall kicking and screaming'.
“We had a heated exchange. I said I was going to report her and I left.” Ms Tatem posted an account of the incident on Facebook and was later contacted by officials from ADS.
She spotted the elderly woman, who was surrounded by a group of people, on Thursday afternoon as she drove past the junction of South Road and St Anne's Road.
Ms Tatem stopped to help and decided to try nearby care homes in case the woman had wandered off.
She said: “She was covered in debris — she must have tumbled.”
Ms Tatem added: “I rolled down the window and asked the people there if she was OK. Then I asked her what her name was and she couldn't tell me — she was babbling.
“She could have been hit by a car — she may not have the spatial awareness or to be able to identify that it was a road she was on, she might not have realised how close she was to the cars. It was very dangerous.”
Ms Tatem said she was contacted by ADS to thank her for helping the elderly woman.
She was also told that “corrective and preventive guidelines” had been issued to the home and that officials would contact her again in the new year.
St Moritz was also told to contact the woman's family, make sure it complied with minimum staffing levels and to carry out a risk assessment and make changes to care plans if needed.
A government spokeswoman added that “heightened oversight and intervention” at the home would continue until all the recommendations had been implemented.
A spokeswoman for the health ministry, which runs ADS, said it became aware of Ms Tatem's Facebook post the day after the incident.
She added: “Immediate action was taken to contact the complainant and investigate the matter.”
Ms Perret declined to comment on the incident yesterday.