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Care home apologises after grandmother suffers facial injuries

Jill Symmonds required hospital treatment after suffering a fall at an Aberdeenshire care home.

Injuries: Jill Symmonds required hospital treatment.
Injuries: Jill Symmonds required hospital treatment. SWNS/HEMEDIA

A care home has been forced to apologise after an elderly resident suffered "horrendous" injuries after falling from a toilet.

Jill Symmonds, 78, was left with severe bruising to her face after the incident at Sunnybank Care Home in Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire.

The grandmother of 13, who is prone to fits, fell after being left alone in the bathroom on Tuesday.

Mrs Symmonds' granddaughter Emma Stephen said her family were not immediately informed of the accident and only learned of the fall after calling the care home to check up on her, when they were told the 78-year-old had been taken to hospital for treatment.

Emma, 33, later posted the image of her grandmother on social media, criticising the care home over its staffing levels and the fact that no one had alerted the family.

Bruised: Mrs Symmonds' granddaughter posted the image on social media.
Bruised: Mrs Symmonds' granddaughter posted the image on social media. SWNS/HEMEDIA

Sunnybank Care Home has since launched a review into the incident and offered a "wholehearted" apology.

Emma, from Stuartfield, Aberdeenshire, said her grandmother had suffered serious falls in the past, including one incident where she broke both her legs.

"She's had a fall and it's pretty horrendous, but it's not the first fall that has happened," she said.

"This is probably the most severe, but what we're trying to get to the bottom of at the moment is why she has fallen.

"It does appear that care homes do not have the level of staffing that people like us think they should have, which is totally wrong.

"I think the majority of carers at the moment do a fantastic job and I really do take my hat off to them.

"But the problem is it cannot be okay if people are falling like this. It happens too often and it's disgraceful that elderly people are treated this way."

Home operators Meallmore Ltd said the family had not originally been contacted because of a "retraining issue" with the staff member involved.

A spokesman for the firm added: "We are still reviewing the incident and, as is our policy following any significant event, we will undertake a full review with the resident, her family and other relevant professionals to update the resident's care plan to minimise the risk of a future incident.

"The fact the resident's family weren't alerted as soon as she was admitted to hospital was unacceptable and we wholeheartedly apologise.

"We take the prevention of falls very seriously and each resident is assessed, in line with national falls guidance, to limit their risk.

"However, it is important to note we do not restrict movement or choice of people in our care. Any incident such as this is reviewed to ensure lessons are learned for the future and care plans, along with ways of working, are then adapted accordingly.

"As a company, we take matters like this extremely seriously, as the care, comfort and security of residents is our top priority."

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