Woman who left Cobham nursing home unnoticed suffered fatal injuries in fall, inquest hears

Changes made: Springfield has addressed problems, the inquest heard

Changes made: Springfield has addressed problems, the inquest heard

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

An elderly lady suffered fatal injuries after leaving her Cobham nursing home without staff realising, an inquest heard.

Veronica Roake, 84, left Springfield House nursing home, where she was a resident, and walked 150m along Stoke Road, towards Tilt Common.

Her disappearance was brought to the attention of nursing home staff after an unknown member of the public discovered Mrs Roake lying on the pavement with head injuries.

An inquest at Woking Coroner’s Court on January 29 heard that staff had seen Mrs Roake in the nursing home at 4.50pm on August 20, 2013, but was discovered outside further down the road at 5.15pm.

She was taken by ambulance to St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, but died of her injuries two days later while her daughter was at her bedside.

In a statement read to the inquest, Gillian Christian, daughter of Mrs Roake, said her mother, who she believed was in the early stages of dementia, moved to Springfield House about one year before her death, after previously living in sheltered accommodation.

She said: “I saw her on August 20 when I had tea with her at the home. I left at 4pm saying I would come back for coffee the next day.

“At about 5pm I received a call to say she had walked out of the home and had fallen over and was being taken to accident and emergency. I went to accident and emergency and she was unconscious.”

Mrs Roake regained consciousness the following day, but there was no change in her condition on August 22 when she died.

Jean Walker, business manager, at Springfield House, said in a statement that a full risk assessment of Mrs Roake had taken place in July 2013 and she had a “medium fall risk”.

Ms Walker said Mrs Roake’s family were very happy with her level of care at the home.

The inquest was also told that two unauthorised exits from the home on July 19 and August 13 were made by Mrs Roake.

Dr Michael Hall, pathologist who carried about the post-mortem examination said there was “traumatic head injury”, which would be consistent with a fall and said the cause of death was a head injury and fractured ribs.

Since Mrs Roake’s death, changes have been made at the home, with automatic door closures, keypad codes, back gate security and signs to suggest the importance of door closures all in place.

Summing up, Coroner Martin Fleming, said: “I have noted in this case the steps that have been taken by the home to prevent future incidents.”

Mr Fleming recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

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