Mum’s ordeal in police probe care home

Hillcroft Nursing Home, Throstle Grove, Slyne wth Hest.
Hillcroft Nursing Home, Throstle Grove, Slyne wth Hest.

THE daughter of an elderly woman who lived in a nursing home currently under police investigation says she reported staff for poor care.

Jan Lewis said her mum Eileen Baxter would telephone her “sobbing her heart out” during her year-long stay in the Hillcroft home in Slyne-with-Hest.

Mrs Lewis said she made complaints to management about the way her mum was cared for, but doesn’t feel those complaints were followed through, and the members of staff continued to work at the home.

As reported in last week’s Guardian, the private home is the subject of a police investigation following complaints made to Lancashire County Council about the quality of care.

Police were called to the 36-bedroom home in Throstle Grove, and seven members of staff were later suspended.

The home, which offers nursing care for frail elderly, elderly mentally infirm and challenging behaviour, has been owned by three local businessmen, John Ayrton, David Pinington and Brian Pinington since 2007.

Mrs Baxter lived at the home for a year until she died from pneumonia last November at the age of 78. She suffered from progressive supernuclear palsy, a condition similar to Parkinson’s, which meant she needed extra care.

She had previously lived in Dolphinlee in Lancaster but was moved to Hillcroft when her condition deteriorated.

The illness meant she would fall over easily. She also lost her speech and was unable to swallow, meaning she had to be fed liquidised food.

Mrs Lewis, who lives in Lancaster with her husband, was sent a letter last week by Lancashire County Council which said five members of staff had been suspended, against whom specific allegations have been made. The letter added that two members of the management team had also been suspended.

Mrs Lewis may be called on to help with the investigation.

She said she was not surprised to hear that other complaints had been made.

“One day I had a call from my mum and she was absolutely sobbing,” Mrs Lewis said. “I had never seen her in the state she was in before.

“I asked my mum if she wanted to move but she got upset because she was settled and didn’t want to move again.”

Mrs Lewis was told by the police last week that “numerous” incidents had been recorded. The investigation is expected to last several months.

Lancashire County Council said in their letter that during the investigation they will not send any more people to the home, and any new residents taken on privately will have to be made aware of the police investigation.