'Muswell Hill Care home allowed dementia OAP to go missing for 24 hours'
PUBLISHED: 16:00 22 August 2011 | UPDATED: 16:08 22 August 2011
© Nigel Sutton email email@example.com
»An 80-year-old dementia-sufferer went missing for 24 hours from an £875-a- week care home in Fortis Green and was discovered looking dazed and sunburnt.
The family of Gordon Holmes moved him from his Guildford home to Spring Lane Residential Home in May this year because it was rated as “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission health watchdog.
But his daughter, Dr Sara Holmes, was horrified when she went to visit him on July 14 at 4.30pm and found that he had gone missing. When she turned up at the care home she claims that an employee gave her the impression that he had recently seen her father.
As the minutes ticked by and her father failed to emerge, they realised he had gone missing and called the police.
CCTV footage showed him leaving the building at 11.50am that morning, which means he was missing for more than four hours before his daughter alerted staff.
He was found at 12.30pm the next day (July 15) – two miles away on Crouch End Hill, by a passer-by who took him to the Whittington Hospital where he was treated for dehydration.
No-one knows where he spent the night before he was admitted to hospital and he is unable to remember. Whittington staff alerted police and they reunited Mr Holmes with his family.
Dr Holmes, a former Haringey councillor, who lives in Church Vale, Fortis Green, said: “How can a dementia patient be able to walk out of a home and for four hours no staff notice that he is missing? If I hadn’t turned up to see him, when would they have noticed he was missing?”
Mr Holmes, who was a structural engineer, pays for his own care out of his savings.
But his daughter is furious that a care home she entrusted with her father’s welfare was so lapse.
She claims that the management has not offered her father adequate compensation for the safety mishap which resulted in him spending a night on the streets.
The company waived the one-month notice fee so Mr Holmes paid for one week in August not four. But his daughter believes he deserves more than that.
She said: “My father paid nearly £4,000 a month to live in that care home and what I found upsetting is that this company continued to take his fees as if nothing has happened.
“He is due some recompense for the lapse in care which led him into a situation which must have been extremely bewildering if not downright frightening.”
She has since moved him to another home in North Finchley.
Robin Powell medical director of Spring Lane Residential Home said: “We are very sorry that Mr Holmes went out for a walk from his residential care home and lost his way. As soon as his absence was noted, staff called the police and a search was made. He was safely returned, unharmed.
“We should point [out] that Spring Lane is not a secure unit and residents are free to come and go as they please. We have apologised to his relatives for the understandable anxiety that may have been caused. We should point out that Springdene care homes operate to the highest industry standards.”