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Sister hits out over level of care for epileptic man found dead at his home
AN EPILEPTIC man found dead at his home should have been better looked after by those in charge of his care, his sister told an inquest.
Adrian Whitehead had been living at Briarwood in Totton for 20 years as a supported tenant due to his severe epilepsy and learning disabilities.
Southampton Coroner’s Court heard how Mr Whitehead, 53, came home early from a day care centre after being ill. he was checked on by staff that evening where he told them he was feeling better.
However, when staff then checked on him the following morning, body was found in his room.
In court his sister Alison Rowbotham raised a number of concerns about Stonham, the care providers commissioned by Hampshire County Council.
Briarwood was also given a critical report by the Care Quality Commission, the healthcare watchdog, following an inspection that was carried out just weeks after Mr Whitehead’s death in October last year.
In a series of meetings held after Mr Whitehead’s death, Mrs Rowbotham said she felt “stonewalled” when she raised concerns about the level of care.
“He died and that shows he obviously did not have the care,” she said.
Mrs Rowbotham told the inquest she had repeatedly raised concerns to Stonham about how her brother was being monitored at night and his ability to self-medicate.
In response, Luencina Zankl, from Stonham, said the level of care was assessed by Hampshire County Council and was reviewed as adequate for Mr Whitehead’s needs. No issue had been raised about his ability to take his own medicine and they felt Mr Whitehead had the capacity to make decisions about his own health.
The court heard how in the most recent assessment, weeks before his death, some recommendations had been made surrounding the wearing of monitors that would trigger alarms in the night.
However, none of these were in place on the night Mr Whitehead died.
Ms Zankl said the care provided encouraged independent living.
Speaking after the inquest, Andrew Gray, Home Group client services director for Stonham, said: “Adrian’s care needs were independently assessed by the local authority and we provided care based on their recommendations.
“Adrian was very independent and required minimal support.
“In the 20 years Adrian was with us we were not aware of any history of seizures while he was sleeping.
“We encouraged him to use seizure alarms but it was his choice whether to use them and we couldn’t compel him.”
No one from Hampshire County Council was able to comment.
The coroner will record a cause of death next month.
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