‘Institutional abuse’ at care home where 19 died

There was ‘institutional abuse’ at the Orchid View care home in Copthorne where 19 residents died, an inquest heard.

At the end of an inquest into the deaths of 19 people at the Southern Cross owned home, West Sussex coroner Penelope Schofield said five of those deaths could be attributed to neglect.

Family of Orchid View care home residents, who died while living there, appear before the press after the inquest

Family of Orchid View care home residents, who died while living there, appear before the press after the inquest

In the remaining 14 she said there was insufficient evidence given at the five week inquest to say the other 14 died as a result of the lack of care they received, but called their treatment ‘heartbreaking’.

The inquest heard how patients were left in soiled bedding and found dehydrated and hungry on numerous occasions by family and friends.

There was mismanagement of medication, and the medical records of patient Jean Halfpenny, 77, were found to have been falsified.

In summing up Mrs Schofield said: “It’s clear to me there were serious failings in quality of care provided by Orchid Views and it’s equally clear to me those failure was on three levels - corporate, management and individual professional practices.

“This home was from the top down completely mismanaged and understaffed and failed to provide a safe place for residents.”

She went on to record verdicts of death by natural causes for 14 residents and for five residents she recorded narrative verdict that they died from natural causes, which had been attributed to by neglect.

Orchid View Care Home opened in 2009 and closed in 2011. It has now reopened under a new name and under new management.

Read the full story in next week’s Crawley Observer.