A 103-year-old Stockport resident has died after suffering a fall when she was left alone in a care home garden for two hours.
Barbara Doodson was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs in a care home on Bramhall Lane, Davenport, an inquest heard.
An alarm was raised at 7.30pm when Mrs Doodson could not be found two hours after she was helped outside by her carer at around 5:30pm, who found the pensioner’s untouched supper in her room.
Carers at the home owned and run by Borough Care searched outside before finding her at the bottom of a flight of stairs with head injuries – she was pronounced dead at Stepping Hill Hospital later that evening.
At the time staff did not adhere to any specific rules about supervising residents in the garden but would check as often as they could.
A carer told the inquest that she shouted through the window to check on Mrs Doodson: “I know it’s no excuse but I was busy at the time [with serving supper], I thought she hadn’t heard me.”
The home now gives residents call pendants when they go into the garden and checks every 15 minutes.
A ramp has now replaced the stairs which Mrs Doodson fell down and the Health and Safety Executive has given a risk assessment of the garden.
Coroner Chris Morris concluded: “Mrs Doodson died as a consequence of a head injury sustained in a fall down a set of stairs in the garden.
“Access to the relevant stairs was unrestricted at the time of Mrs Doodson’s fall.”
Jennifer Eley, daughter of Mrs Doodson, said: “She was a feisty lady, she lived to 103 because she was so feisty. She was widowed for a long time and after my father died she made a new life.
“She did a lot of charity work and gardening and made new friends, she didn’t sit around. She was a very healthy woman.
“She was very opinionated and liked discussing things with people, she always had something to say. She had a paper delivered every day.”
Mrs Doodson was born in Blackpool and was involved countless charities including the NSPCC and Cancer Research.
Mark Ward, from Borough Care, said: “We were extremely sorry to lose Barbara, who was a big part of life in our home. Barbara was a very independent and active 103 year old, who spent as much time in our beautiful gardens as she possibly could.
“Our residents’ safety is our highest priority and we constantly evaluate and improve our practices.
“All our homes are regularly inspected and assessed by the Care Quality Commission and by the council. Reinbeck (Barbara’s home) has been inspected twice in the past year, including as recently as September.
“On both occasions, the home was rated as good. We will continue to review our policies and procedures, including giving consideration of the coroner’s findings to ensure we provide all our residents with the richest and safest lives possible.”