Belfast Telegraph

Home staff 'did not spot hip break'

Social housing staff in Northern Ireland failed to realise that an elderly resident had suffered a broken hip during a fall, according to a report.

Fold Housing Association was strongly criticised for maladministration by Northern Ireland Ombudsman Tom Frawley, following the injury of the 89-year-old.

Staff at the Spelga Mews centre in Banbridge, Co Down, failed to contact a GP for 44 minutes and gave inaccurate and wrong information to investigators, Mr Frawley said.

The Association has apologised to the resident's family.

Mr Frawley's annual report said: "I concluded that the Association's action in this case fell significantly short of the standard that citizens have a right to expect from a public body and which I acknowledged the Association strives to deliver."

The victim was found lying on the floor of her room following a fall at the housing with care centre in 2008. The Association failed to detect that, in addition to pain and swelling in her left wrist because of a fracture, she had sustained a fracture of her left hip, the report said.

A complaint by a relative said the Association moved the woman several times and delayed seeking help from an out-of-hours GP for 44 minutes. The evidence of staff that the resident had complained only about her injured wrist was completely at odds with information recorded by the GP and the ambulance service. The contention of staff that the victim was able to bear weight and expressed no pain in her hip was "totally inaccurate and wrong," the report said.

Staff failed to adhere to the Association's procedures by offering the resident breakfast.

Mr Frawley's report said: "Having completed an investigation of the matters raised, I fully upheld this complaint.

"I found evidence of what I considered to be particularly serious examples of maladministration by the Association."

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