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Nurses tell inquest of ants and excrement at care home

A nurse has told an inquest into the deaths of three elderly care home residents how she confronted the manager after she found one of them sitting in his own excrement, telling her "this is somebody's father, somebody's husband".

Another nurse told the hearing into the 2016 deaths of residents of Sowerby House near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, how she saw another man eating his breakfast at a bedside table covered in hundreds of ants.

The premises have been investigated by North Yorkshire Police and the Care Quality Commission and its owners no longer run it as a nursing home, the inquest in Northallerton heard.

Coroner Michael Oakley resumed inquests into the deaths of former lorry driver Albert Pooley, 89, and 85-year-olds James Metcalfe and Harry Kilvington.

District nurse Penelope Hutchinson said she visited Mr Metcalfe last July and found him with chapped lips, sitting in his own urine and excrement, having not been checked for four-and-a-half hours.

She told the inquest she confronted manager Joanne King after she cleaned Mr Metcalfe up with a colleague.

"I went to see her and said 'This is totally unacceptable, this gentleman deserves basic standards of care, this is somebody's father, somebody's husband'," the district nurse said.

Three months before, agency nurse Kristina Parsons was so concerned about standards that she walked out of her shift four hours early.

The 48-year-old nurse said she did not have direct dealings with any of the three men, but she went into Mr Pooley's room on April 28, hours after he had been admitted to hospital, and found excrement in a commode and dirty wipes on the floor.

Ms Parsons told the inquest: "I went down a corridor, there was a man sat on the edge of the bed eating breakfast with the bedside table crawling in ants.

"It was not just 10 or 15, it was hundreds of them."

She said she informed staff that the resident needed moving, but was told "he was a dirty man who needed to stay there".

Ms Parsons said she was "disgusted" about the state of the commode in Mr Pooley's room and another nurse said she would get someone to clean it up.

She said she feared she might lose her nursing registration if she stayed on shift and told her agency she needed to leave.

The coroner heard from the family of Mr Pooley, an ex-lorry driver who had dementia and other conditions.

After a serious fall at home in Thirsk where he lived with his wife Kathleen, he went to Sowerby House, weighing around nine-and-a-half stone, in December 2015.

When he died on May 1 2016 he had lost around three stone from his 5ft 6in frame.

Pathologist Dr Carl Gray told the hearing Mr Pooley showed signs of dehydration and was emaciated.

But he said that did not prove that neglect led to his death.

Mr Pooley died from a number of factors, including pneumonia, heart disease and a urinary infection and was on the end-of-life pathway, the inquest heard.

Dr Gray said Mr Metcalfe was an "elderly gentleman with chronic conditions" and was receiving palliative care.

Mr Metcalfe's GP told the hearing she found him attempting to eat fish and chips with his hands when she visited him at the home.

Dr Rachel Doswell said she saw he was sitting too far away from the plate - and the meal was "completely inappropriate" for a man with two teeth.

Pamela Jackson, manager of another care home where Mr Kilvington was due to move after Sowerby House stopped offering nursing care, said she was struck by a very strong smell of urine when she visited the premises in October.

Mr Kilvington had a number of serious conditions including Alzheimer's and died from sepsis from a foot ulcer in November.

Paul Kelsey, a senior carer at the home, told the inquest standards have "drastically" improved.

The inquest continues tomorrow.

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