Care home trio falsified reports after a scalding

Chris Bristol, from Portsmouth, is a member of a new stroke survivor's group after he survived five mini strokes.  Picture: Stroke Association

Portsmouth stroke survivor welcomes launch of support group

Have your say

THE partner of a 75-year-old woman with dementia scalded in a shower at a care home feels she has deteriorated since her ordeal, a court heard.

Victim Gloria Smith, who is in a wheelchair and struggles to communicate, suffered blisters after being showered by worker Carol Shann at Pear Tree Lodge, Beech Grove, Hayling Island.

But a district nurse was not alerted until four days after the incident when an anonymous tip-off was made by a whistleblower.

By this time by Miss Smith had received the wrong treatment.

There is no suggestion that Carol Shann or anyone else deliberately ill-treated Miss Smith.

However care home manager Marie Abolins admitted falsifying a record of a service user and personnel management records.

Her daughter, deputy manager Amy Byrne and close friend, senior carer Katie Middleton, each admitted aiding and abetting the falsifying of a record of a service user and personnel management records.

Judge Sarah Munro, sentencing at Portsmouth Crown Court, said of the victim’s partner: ‘He feels that there has been a direct deterioration in Gloria’s communication skills and in her communication with him as a result of this incident.

‘That may or may not be right but it’s clear as far as he is concerned there is a direct link between what happened to her and this condition.’

Reading from a statement given by Miss Smith’s long-term partner, Judge Munro said he wrote: ‘I feel that Gloria is now going to end her life without knowing that I love her.’

The statement added: ‘I believe the defendants are responsible.’

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the care home worker who showered Miss Smith between September 27 and 28 2012 did not know it became scalding hot.

Miss Smith developed blisters on her shoulder and body.

When the worker alerted Middleton, she was told to put Sudocream in the blisters which caused them to split.

The following morning all three women arrived at the care home and were aware of the incident but the district nurse was not contacted.

Louisa Bagley, prosecuting, said: ‘Mrs Abolins told the staff that nobody was to tell the district nurse what had happened.’

Middleton told the district nurse Miss Smith had been burnt with a cup of tea. Abolins and Byrne then said there was a second incident which happened in the shower. The court heard Byrne created false accident reports and Abolins gave false warnings to Byrne and Middleton.

Byrne and Middleton eventually admitted there was no ‘tea incident.’

But Abolins lied to the care home owner and social services, saying relevant people including next-of-kin had been informed.

None of the women have previous convictions.

Abolins, 56, of Harwood Place, Kings Worthy, Winchester, was sentenced to six months in jail suspended for a year and told to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Byrne, 26, of Seafront, Hayling Island, was jailed for four months suspended for a year and told to do 120 hours of unpaid work.

Middleton, 32, of Quarely Road, Havant, was told to do 80 hours of unpaid work and sentenced to two months in jail suspended for a year. Ms Shann, of Bramdean Drive, Havant, was found not guilty of ill-treatment and neglect when the prosecution offered no evidence at a previous hearing.