Johanna Short, from Stamford, hopes care home communication will improve after the death of her mother

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A DAUGHTER hopes lessons will be learned to improve communication between care home staff and residents’ families following the death of her mother.

Elizabeth Church spent the last five years of her life at Whitefriars Residential Home in Stamford before she was admitted to Peterborough City Hospital in August last year.

Mrs Church, who was 83, died of bronchial pneumonia but the post mortem also revealed a blood clot between the skull and the brain which was most likely caused by trauma to the head.

She had dementia and poor eyesight which led to her having a number of falls.

During her inquest, Mrs Church’s family raised concerns about several aspects of her care during the last few months of her life.

Her daughter Johanna Short, of St Leonard’s Street, Stamford, said: “Over the August bank holiday weekend we became increasingly concerned about our mother’s state of health and let the carers know our fears that she may have suffered a stroke.

“They did not seem particularly perturbed, repeatedly telling us the GP was attending on Tuesday. As it turned out the pathologist said the eventual outcome would probably not have been different if medical help had been sought earlier, yet we were saddened at the lack of empathy shown by some members of staff.

“It is extremely worrying that care homes in this country, despite enormous fees and low staff wages, do not seem to have enough resources to provide the high quality care that our elderly relatives deserve.”

Mrs Short and her sister Kate Alexander met managers from The Orders of St John Care Trust, which runs Whitefriars, on Wednesday to discuss their concerns, which they hope will be used to improve patient care in the future.

Spokesman for trust, Janis Tunaley, said the discussions with Mrs Church’s family had proved helpful.

She said: “Dementia is a cruel illness, the symptoms of which can be very distressing, particularly for close family members and friends.

“Progress of the disease can be erratic and it requires the input of a range of health professionals to understand what is happening and what the best options are at a particular time.

“Discussions with Mrs Church’s family have been helpful for us to better appreciate how genuine misunderstandings can arise, even when everyone is working to the same end.

“Better communication, less jargon and clearer information on what changes to expect as the disease progresses would be helpful for all.”

Mrs Short says the family are confident their views have been taken on board and hope they will benefit future residents at the residential home.

She said: “Our mother spent the last five years of her life at Whitefriars where many members of staff cared for and about her as an individual.

“We raised some concerns with Whitefriars about the last few months of her life and are satisfied they have been listened to and that some recommendations have been implemented.

“There are some lovely staff at Whitefriars and our mother had some happy times there.

“If we have made things better for other people in the future, that is all we can hope for. We now consider the matter closed.”