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Family demands change after death of woman, 89, following attacks in King's Lynn care home

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The daughter of an elderly woman who died after being attacked by another resident at a Lynn care home has called for fundamental reform of the sector.

Doreen Livermore died almost two years ago, on her 89th birthday, six weeks after she was assaulted by a male resident at Amberley Hall.

Now, a safeguarding report into her death, and that of another resident, has revealed she was the victim of three earlier attacks by the same man.

Doreen Livermore (27427994)
Doreen Livermore (27427994)

And her family believe her death could have been prevented had action been taken sooner.

Her daughter, Valerie Wheddon, said they had found it “very difficult” to find out exactly what was going on and suggested they had been let down by the system.

She said: “She was very healthy and had a reasonable quality of life. By the time she died she was a very thin, skeletal lady who had suffered a great deal.”

And she believes things will only improve with much greater public control.

She said: “It should never be in private hands.”

Mrs Livermore, who had dementia, had been living at Amberley Hall since 2009.

But the report by the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board focuses on the period from when her attacker, who is referred to only as Mr Z, was admitted to the home in June 2017 until her death on January 31, 2018.

It reveals there were 10 separate incidents of assaults by Mr Z between June and December 2017, including the four against Mrs Livermore.

Mrs Wheddon stressed she does not blame Mr Z for what happened to her mother.

But she is angry that, despite ensuring at least one relative visited most days, her family had not previously known the full extent of her mother’s ordeal.

She said: “It was absolutely heartbreaking. I had to read part of the report and leave it for some time before I could go back to it. It was so much worse than we thought.”

Mr Z was detained under the Mental Health Act following the final assault on Mrs Livermore.

But the report reveals specialist dementia support workers had raised concerns about the risk they felt his presence in the home posed to others back in August 2017, but no action was taken.

It also suggests an “information gap” which may have prevented other agencies from intervening was created when one incident highlighted was not recorded against him.

In a statement, Amberley Hall said it had made changes to its procedures and “sincerely regrets” the events which led to Mrs Livermore’s death.

It added that residents’ safety and welfare was its top priority.

The report looking into Mrs Livermore’s death, and that of a second resident known only as Mr G, has made 21 separate recommendations for improvements.

It also said three of the recommendations had aldready been acted upon by staff at the Amberley Hall home where both had lived.

And the board, working with groups including the University of East Anglia, Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership, Norfolk & Suffolk Care Support and Norfolk County Council, says it is planning to hold training events later this year for care professionals to improve work relating to individuals with challenging behaviour.

Joan Maughan, the board’s independent chair, said: “These will be targeted at care home providers to identify what triggers challenging behaviour for people suffering with dementia.

“There will also be practical advice and support for providers to ensure their staff have the skills and confidence to complete mental health checks and effectively work with and manage behaviour that challenges in the care setting.”

She said there were “clear overlaps in learning themes” between the two cases and thanked both families for their assistance to the review.

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