Falls review after woman, 65, dies

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The family of a woman who died after a fall at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has today welcomed a review to make sure patients at risk of falling are properly monitored.

Margaret Mossop, 65, was receiving chemotherapy for an aggressive form of cancer at the hospital and fell while walking out of her room in the early hours of July 3 this year.

She received a serious head injury from which she died of three days later at Royal Preston Hospital.

Blackpool Coroner’s Court heard Mrs Mossop, of Friars Court, Barrow-in-Furness, was given a nurse call bell, but was reluctant to use it as she believed the nurses were too busy.

An inquest into Mrs Mossop’s death on Thursday was told she was given a falls assessment score of 10, bearing in mind her age, condition and medication she was on when she was admitted on to The Vic’s haematology ward on June 22. The score was increased to 13 – with the highest possible score being in the late 30s – a week later as a protocol for all patients staying in hospital.

Giving evidence at the inquest, haematology ward manager Helen Taylor, said patients with a falls risk score of 11 or higher were considered for a falls sensor mat, which was placed around the bed and would sound an alarm if the 
patient moved.

Mrs Taylor said: “I would have done that, but there is no clear guidance to say that’s what they should do. That’s something we are looking at now as a Trust.”

She said during Mrs Mossop’s stay on the ward, there were times when she required support when moving about.

She added: “Mrs Mossop was provided with a nurse call bell. On most occasions she would use that but there were occasions that she would mobilise unaided and staff found her 
having already reached where she wanted to go.”

Mrs Taylor said when staff reminded Mrs Mossop to use the nurse call bell, she would reply ‘I am fine, I am OK’.

Mrs Mossop’s sister-in-law, Pat Winterbourne, said: “Margaret would not use the bell. She was reluctant to use the bell even though she was told to use it. She said that (the nurses) were busy, they had things to do.”

Observations carried out the night she fell showed the call bell was to hand.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Blackpool and Fylde Senior Coroner Alan Wilson said: “Mrs Mossop was probably the type of lady who did not want to cause any trouble to anybody.

“I am encouraged by the fact it seems as though the Trust is reviewing the situation as a result of this particular incident.”

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Mossop’s husband, Peter, said: “I think everything was right. I welcome the review at the hospital.”