THE FAMILY of an 81-year-old woman who died after her bed sores became infected has received compensation for “inadequate treatment” at a care home.

Durham County Council settled for an undisclosed figure following the death from of Audrey Peace, of Perkinsville, near Chester-le-Street, County Durham, in March 2012, from “large infected pressure sores”.

A legal claim was brought against the council by Mrs Peace before she died in relation to the poor care she had received.

Following her death her daughter, Karen Armstrong, of Pelton, took over the legal claim in relation to poor nursing care leading to severe deterioration of pressure sores and the death of Mrs Peace.

Mrs Armstrong said: “Nothing is ever going to bring my mam back but we now have at least some sense of closure. I hope that the trust and the council have learned lessons from my mam’s case and will put these into action so no other family has to go through what we have been through.”

Mrs Peace suffered a fall at home and fractured her arm in December 2011.

She attended the University Hospital North Durham and was discharged to Mendip House, in Chester-le-Street - a care home managed at the time by county council and since closed.

During a six-week stay she developed severe pressure sores and was was attended to by district nurses employed by the trust.

According to evidence from a medical expert, there were failures to treat and to adequately document the pressure sores.

Mrs Peace was discharged home from Mendip House in February 2012. However, according to the expert an insufficient care package was put in place. She had been receiving 24-hour care at Mendip House but following her discharge a package of only four 30-minute visits was requested initially, later increased to four one-hour visits.

Her health and the condition of the pressure sores declined rapidly soon after and she was readmitted to University Hospital North Durham, where she later died. The primary cause of death stated on her death certificate was ‘large infected pressure sores’.

Mrs Armstrong complained to both the parliamentary and health service ombudsman and to the local government ombudsman who produced a joint report which was published in 2016. The report found failings by both the council and the trust.

Several admissions were made Durham and Darlington NHS Trust and an offer to settle quickly followed in October 2015.

The case against the council in relation to the claim under the Human Rights Act was settled in July 2016 and payment of damages was received at the end of the year.

Emma Jones, partner in law firm Leigh Day’s Human Rights team, represented Mrs Armstrong.

She said: “It is clear from the expert evidence and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report there were a number of failings in this case. 

"The council state that action has been taken.  We hope that sufficient action has been taken and preventative measures put into place to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again.”

County council head of adult care, Lee Alexander, said: “We accept the care Mrs Peace received fell short of the standards we would expect. We contacted her family in May to offer our sincere apologies and to inform them of steps we have taken to address the issues raised in the ombudsman’s report.”