‘How could this happen?’ Daughter finds mum with fractures in support home

Roxanne Hamilton

Michelle Howlett fractured her foot and hand while living in supported accommodation but she wasn't taken to hospital for several days - Credit: Roxanne Hamilton

A daughter found her mum with a fractured foot and bad bruising after collecting her from supported living.

Roxanne Hamilton also said she had to change and wash her mum, Michelle Howlett, when she picked her up from Robert Kett Court in Wymondham, as she was wet with urine.

Roxanne Hamilton

Roxanne Hamilton found her mum with bruising and fractures - Credit: Roxanne Hamilton

Ms Hamilton complained to the Care Quality Commission which raised a safeguarding concern. Norse Care, which provides care at the accommodation, investigated along with Norfolk’s Safeguarding Team.

They found there were some lessons to be learned but a Norse spokesman added: “We are fully assured that appropriate care and support was offered.

"The Safeguarding Team has concluded that they will be taking no further action."

Ms Howlett, 54, has a long-term muscle condition called myotonic dystrophy. She spent the last two years living at her daughter’s house in Swardeston but moved in August last year to Robert Kett Court to get more support.

KAREN CLAYDON

Robert Kett Court in Wymondham - Credit: KAREN CLAYDON

On Friday December 18, Ms Hamilton had a call from her mum to say she had a fall and hurt her ankle. A GP was called and came two days later on the Monday. They said the grandmother-of-six had probably sprained her ankle. Then on December 23, while trying to stand up she fell again and this time injured her hand.

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On December 24, the day Ms Hamilton was meant to pick her mum up and take her home for Christmas, she said she received a distressing call from her, claiming that she had been ringing her call bell as she needed the toilet, but nobody had come.

Ms Hamilton, 31, drove to the accommodation to collect her, with her step-mum, Debbie Kilbourn, a hospital nurse, and complained to a manager.

She said: “Mum looked horrendous, I hardly recognised her. She was shaking, she was obviously in considerable pain and clearly distressed.”

She said her mum was being pushed in a wheelchair but her feet were dragging underneath it because there were no foot plates.

Ms Hamilton, a mother-of-six, added: “She absolutely stank of urine. Her shoes were wet with urine, she had no underwear on, she couldn’t stand up."

When they got home she washed her and found bruising and swelling on her left ankle.

Roxanne Hamilton

The bruising on Michelle Howlett's fractured foot - Credit: Roxanne Hamilton

In response, Norse Care said that they provided personal rather than medical care and tenants were independent and able to make their own choices about what care they received. 

Ms Howlett spent Christmas with her family, but the day she was due to go back to Robert Kett Court, on December 28, her daughter took her to A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. There, X-rays showed she had a fractured finger and two foot fractures. 

Roxanne Hamilton

The bruising on Michelle Howlett's fractured finger - Credit: Roxanne Hamilton

“I was heartbroken,” Ms Hamilton said. “How could this have happened? How could she have suffered for so long? Why was she not given the medical attention when she needed it?”

A referral was made to Norfolk Safeguarding Team and the manager of Robert Kett Court apologised to the family in an email and said they would investigate.

A Norse Care spokesman said: “We would like to again assure the tenant and their family that we have taken their concerns very seriously and we continue to guide them through the formal complaints process.”

Ms Howlett is now in a different home but her daughter has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to build an annex for her so she can be cared for at home.

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