Inquest critical of hospital’s failure to communicate after woman dies in Hailsham

The family of an elderly lady who died in a Hailsham nursing home have criticised The Conquest Hospital, which is based in Hastings, for its lack of communication.

Joan Pearce died on April 13 at Hailsham House Nursing Home, which is situated in Hellingly, after being admitted to hospital in March after a fall.

Mrs Pearce fell in Bexhill and was taken to Hastings’ Conquest Hospital where she stayed for just over a month.

Her daughter Jo Glapinski gave evidence at the inquest on Thursday (October 23.)

She told assistant deputy coroner Christopher Wilkinson that her mother was an independent and strong willed woman who lived alone at 87.

Ms Glapinski visited her mother in hospital the day after the fall, the inquest heard.

She told the coroner: “We couldn’t establish anything definitive from the nursing staff there, but we were not overly concerned because she was lucid.”

However, Mrs Pearce started to deteriorate and became jaundiced, the inquest heard.

The family were unsure whether her illness was due to the head injury she suffered as a result of the fall or something else, the inquest heard.

But Ms Glapinski criticised the hospital for lack of communication and told the coroner the hospital staff did not provide enough information about her mother’s condition, despite requests from the family.

She said she was ‘shocked’ at how Mrs Pearce had deteriorated, the inquest heard.

Ms Glapinski said: “I went in and was completely shocked at how she had deteriorated.

“She had jaundice at that time and couldn’t open her eyes.”

Mrs Pearce had bile duct cancer and it was decided by doctors she would receive palliative care, the inquest heard.

The inquest heard the decision had come as a ‘shock’ to the family, who claimed they had asked for information about what was going on.

Ms Glapinski said: “As a family we never had anyone sit us down and tell us what was going on and we asked for it.”

Imelda Donnellan, consultant general surgeon at The Conquest in Hastings, said the head injury coupled with the cancer caused complications.

She gave a clear account of the care she received, the inquest heard.

She apologised to the family if the information they had received at the hospital worried or confused them.

She said they ‘genuinely didn’tknow what the full picture was’.

She told the family: “I’m very sorry if what they were saying to you only served to worry you more, confuse you or not answer your questions.

“We genuinely didn’t know what the full picture was.”

Mr Wilkinson said there were no concerns over Mrs Pearce’s care at the hospital.

But told the inquest that communication should be discussed within the hospital so the same situation does not happen to another family.

At the inquest, which was held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday October 23, Mr Wilkinson recorded a verdict of accidental death.