Nightmare at Christmas: Family hit out over widow’s treatment

Beechcroft Nursing home
Beechcroft Nursing home

The family of a widow with dementia have hit out — and demanded an investigation — amid claims she was kicked out of a West Hallam care home on Christmas Eve.

Isla Vipond, the daughter of 81-year-old Sarah Finney, who is known as Sally, was contacted by staff from Beechcroft Care Home after she became violent and confused at 9.30pm.

After Isla became distressed, her husband, David, took the call and went to the home as requested by staff.

He says that when he arrived, he found his mother-in-law stood in the foyer wearing only her pyjamas.

The police had been called and staff allegedly refused to let Mr Vipond access Mrs Finney’s room to collect her belongings. Instead it is claimed that they were stuffed into carrier bags and a half-open suitcase by staff.

Mr Vipond, owner of Bath Street shop Dyl and Co, explained: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I got there.

“Here was an 81-year-old woman who suffers from dementia clearly in a confused and distressed state and the staff were just telling me to get her out of there.

“There was a police officer there which was, in my view, completely unnecessary. Even if she had become violent she is an elderly and frail lady who struggles to even walk.

“I asked if we could take her to her room and try and settle her but the staff flatly refused. The duty manager kept telling me that Sally was not under any circumstances staying at the home that night.”

Derbyshire County Council, which runs Beechcroft, rebuffed claims Sally was ‘evicted’, saying this would never be the case at one of its homes.

The council has also launched an investigation and because of this said it couldn’t comment in any greater detail.

Mrs Finney was staying at the home for respite following a hospital stint and while work was carried out at the Viponds’ home to allow her to stay there. She had been there for four nights amd had become distressed on several occasions as a result of her dementia.

It is claimed Isla had been told by staff that if the episodes didn’t stop she would be asked to leave. But Mr Vipond said they never expected this to happen as they had always been able to settle Mrs Finney when they had been contacted by the home.

The police officer, who had been called by the home after Mrs Finney became ‘violent and aggressive’, tried to contact emergency social services to arrange alternative accomodation for Mrs Finney but could not get through. He was then advised by the home’s staff that she should be taken to hospital.

Mr Vipond said: “It was suggested that Sally should be taken to the hospital in the police car as there were no ambulances available but I was not having that.

“I said I would take her so me and the policeman took her to my car with no help from the staff, who locked the door behind us as soon as we stepped out.

“It was freezing cold, Sally was in just her pyjamas, we only got a blanket from a staff member after both myself and the policeman asked for one.

“There aren’t any words to describe the way that she was treated that would do it justice.

“In this day and age is just unbelievable and the fact that it was on Christmas Eve just makes it even more so.”

On arrival at Derby City Hospital, staff asked Mr Vipond what medication Mrs Finney used and when she last took it.

He explained: “With everything that had happened no one at Beechcroft had told me when she last or if she had taken any medication, they had not put it all in her bags and there was so much confusion.”

“I was at the hospital with Sally until 5am on Christmas Day. The staff there were absolutely fantastic.”

After spending the night on a ward arrangements were made on Christmas Day for Mrs Finney to be moved to Ashford Lodge in Ilkeston where she remains.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “We would never evict someone from one of our homes and Sarah’s admission to Royal Derby Hospital on Christmas Eve was the result of an unexpectedly very difficult situation for everyone involved.

“We have had a number of complaints from Sarah’s family and these are now being investigated.

“Because of this investigation we are not able to respond in detail about the allegations the family have made.

“We are in contact with the family and will be sharing the results of the investigation with them as soon as it is completed.”