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Wymondham care home's apology for Attleborough man's traumatic stay

Pauline Leigh (l) and her sister Wendy Clarke are complaining about care given to their father at the Windmill Care Home in Wymondham.

Pauline Leigh (l) and her sister Wendy Clarke are complaining about care given to their father at the Windmill Care Home in Wymondham.

Archant norfolk

A Wymondham care home has apologised to the family of a "proud and dignified" Attleborough man who suffered a series of falls during what relatives described as a "traumatic" three-week stay at the facility.

Pauline Leigh (l) and her sister Wendy Clarke are complaining about care given to their father at the Windmill Care Home in Wymondham. Pictured is Thomas Clarke.Pauline Leigh (l) and her sister Wendy Clarke are complaining about care given to their father at the Windmill Care Home in Wymondham. Pictured is Thomas Clarke.

Former RAF serviceman and Norfolk retained firefighter Thomas Clarke began his stay at Windmill House care home on December 18 last year after his health took a turn for the worse. The 73-year-old had been suffering from dementia for around five or six years.

However, within a few days, daughter Pauline Leigh was called by staff asking her to go to the Runwood Homes-operated facility, as his condition had deteriorated further.

She said when she arrived she had found bruises over her dad’s body and she claimed that he had not been cleaned properly.

She said he had also been hallucinating – and claimed a member of staff, who said she was training to be a medium, had told relatives that he was probably seeing spirits and dead people.

Pauline Leigh (l) and her sister Wendy Clarke are complaining about care given to their father at the Windmill Care Home in Wymondham.Pauline Leigh (l) and her sister Wendy Clarke are complaining about care given to their father at the Windmill Care Home in Wymondham.

Mr Clarke, of Thieves Lane, Attleborough, eventually left the home on January 13 this year and was taken to the Julian Hospital in Norwich, where he remains after extensive assessments.

In a letter to Runwood Homes, Mrs Leigh, of West Carr Road, Attleborough, said: “On one occasion I was called in, I arrived to find my father running up and down the corridor and around the chairs in the day room, visibly extremely agitated.

“We have been so worried by dad that we spend sometimes 12 hours a day with him.

“My father was in the RAF and a firefighter for many years. He was a very proud and dignified man.”

Runwood Homes has not given any response to the Mercury’s request for a comment.

However in a reply to the family – seen by the Mercury – regional care director James Ilesanmi said records showed Mr Clarke had suffered eight falls during his stay.

“There was a risk assessment and care plan in place as he was at risk of falls,” Mr Ilesanmi said. “A falls alert mat was put in place but it was obvious this did not work.

“The home should have contacted you to arrange a falls review meeting in order to discuss his falls and the action the home was taking. I can only apologise for this shortcoming and since the incident, this has been part of an action plan to prevent future occurrence.”

He said the issues over cleanliness “should not have happened under any circumstances and is unacceptable”.

Of the member of staff’s claims Mr Clarke was seeing dead people, Mr Ilesanmi said: “The staff member confirmed that she had said this but offered the explanation that she was trying to comfort the family at the time and did not realise her behaviour was inappropriate.

“She now realises this was wrong and wishes to extend her sincere apologies to the family and has reassured the manager this will never happen again.”

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