Staff fired toy rockets at Alzheimer’s sufferer

Helena Webb
Helena Webb

A CARE home is set to close after staff tormented an elderly Alzheimer’s sufferer with a toy rocket.

Two staff at Cranford Residential Care Home have already been dismissed following an in-house probe.

The family of the late Helena Webb are convinced that the treatment she was subjected to during her three years at the Rainhill home contributed to her death.

Concerns were first raised last July when a visitor saw two members of staff shouting at the visibly distressed 89-year-old.

Just weeks later, a whistleblower reported to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that a member of staff had been firing a toy rocket at her. Staff later claimed the incident was just part of an activity.

Mrs Webb’s family said: “She was neglected, left with bruises up her arms and tormented with a toy rocket. Although she had Alzheimer’s, she had moments of lucidity when she told us how frightened she was. She was a traumatised, tormented soul.

“The staff at the home were very dismissive of every concern we raised with them. In the end, after mum was admitted to hospital, social services agreed that it wasn’t in her best interests to return to the home.

“We checked her in to Eccleston Court instead, who were wonderful, but the damage had already been done. She wasn’t eating and passed away a week later.”

Although a police investigation did not lead to the CPS pressing charges, damning CQC reports show that none of the government’s five key expected standards of care were being properly met at the Warrington Road home.

Among the findings was that the home was failing to care for the safety of residents and protect them from harm.

Amid close monitoring, CQC watchdogs - who confirmed that they were aware of the toy rocket incident - have since issued a warning notice.

The director of Cranford Care Homes Ltd, Dr M R Varma, said he felt “let down” by the dismissed staff .

He said: “We suspended the two staff involved in the toy rocket incident within a couple of days and they were subsequently dismissed earlier this year.

“There were a lot of safeguarding issues which got out of hand and an awful lot of work now needs to be done. We plan to close the home at the end of the month, refurbish and start with a clean slate in about six months time.

“We now know what we need to do to make sure things don’t get out of control again.”