OAP's paid care pair suspended

PUBLISHED: 01:01 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:54 10 June 2010

TWO Exmouth carers have been accused of making false entries in the care log book of an elderly woman and not noticing she was in hospital. Eighty-three-year-old Wilhelmina Dart's family trusted Exmouth care company 1st React Health Care to visit Mrs Da

TWO Exmouth carers have been accused of making false entries in the care log book of an elderly woman - and not noticing she was in hospital.Eighty-three-year-old Wilhelmina Dart's family trusted Exmouth care company 1st React Health Care to visit Mrs Dart for half-an-hour, Monday to Friday.But when the pensioner - who is deaf and needs help dressing, preparing meals and communicating - was taken to hospital after collapsing at home after having a stroke, her family claim the care company failed to notice - and for nine days carers made fake notes in her care book, saying she was fit and well.The care firm, which receives county council funding, has suspended the workers and begun disciplinary measures.Patricia Handford, Mrs Dart's daughter, said her mother was admitted to hospital on February 23, but the carers continued to visit her home and make entries in her log book until March 3 - saying they had seen her.One entry, written six days after her hospital admission, said: "Mrs Dart in bed on arrival. Fed and watered cat. Took cup of tea up to Mrs Dart, said she was staying in bed. Stayed and had a chat. Didn't want anything done. All OK."Mrs Dart's daughter became suspicious of the carers' actions after she returned to her mother's home to collect her belongings and noticed the log book was still being signed.She did not report them immediately, but waited to see how long it would take for the carers to notice her mother's absence. Mrs Handford, a supply teacher, of Moorfield Road, believes the carers' lack of duty could have resulted in her mother's death - if the family had not also visited."She would have lain upstairs and would most assuredly be dead," she said. "The entries in her contact book are pure works of fiction. It is evident they did not even bother to go upstairs and check if she was there. They simply came, assumed she was in bed, entered a plausible lie and left."How do you 'make a cup of tea and have a chat' with someone who isn't there?"It took a whole week until her absence was noticed by a different carer."It appals me to think of her possibly having to lie alone and in pain, while young, careless women assume she cannot complain, cannot hear them, doesn't know and, apparently, it doesn't matter."The private care service began looking after Mrs Dart two years ago after she broke her wrist and needed help. Exmouth police have been notified of the claims, but said no criminal action would be taken.Devon County Council is investigating. A spokesperson said: "Actions to minimise the risk of this type of behaviour from recurring are being made."1st React manager Deana Luckhurst said the company would be improving staff training and procedures, saying the incident was 'isolated'.

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