A MAN whose mother died following a care home fall says he will not stop a four-year quest for answers and wants an apology.

Alan Middleton’s mother Irene died in Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital, just under six weeks after a fall in the town’s Windermere Grange residential home.

The 88-year-old, a former conveyancing clerk, fell while attempting to go to the toilet in her room, breaking her shoulder and suffering facial injuries.

The pensioner, who suffered from depression, initially reported to A&E staff that her fall took place at 11.30pm on November 30, 2012 and was assessed by the hospital as having spent a long duration stuck on the floor.

She was later interviewed by a social worker and changed her account, stating she had not lain on the floor all night, as previously thought, but had fallen at 7.30am the next morning, being discovered shortly after.

In a subsequent statement a member of staff claimed he had gone in to see her at 6.30am, prior to any fall. A night-time checklist showed she had been checked on every hour during the night.

But it later emerged an entry on the sheet relating to Mrs Middleton had been altered and concerns were raised about the quality of the care home’s record-keeping.

Mrs Middleton was discharged back to the home on Christmas Eve, but re-admitted to hospital the following day with pneumonia and died on January 11, 2013.

Successive Care Quality Commission reports said the home requires improvement, and in the latest report, in December last year, it was found to be ‘not always safe’ or ‘well-led’.

Mr Middleton of Normanby, near Middlesbrough, has criticised the care home, and an investigation carried out on behalf of Middlesbrough Council and the Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS mental health trust, which found no evidence of abuse or neglect.

In January 2015, following a complaint by Mr Middleton, the Local Government Ombudsman found no evidence of fault causing an injustice.

It said it was not possible to say with any degree of certainty which account of how long exactly the pensioner had been on the floor was more likely.

The home, it said, needed to make improvements to the way in which night time check records were completed as the time of the checks could not be established.

The Ombudsman concluded the council had investigated a safeguarding alert raised by the hospital promptly and had also arranged a review of the care home to address concerns about record-keeping.

Mr Middleton, 69, said he wanted an apology from the organisations involved.

He said he was unhappy that his mother was interviewed alone in her hospital bed by the social worker who recorded her account, as there was no witness to what was said.

He also she did not have the mental capacity to give a statement as she had suffered delayed shock, although this has been disputed by the council which said an independent advocate would have been involved had that been the case.

The Ombudsman said there was no reason to doubt the social worker’s record of the interview.

Mr Middleton said: “My mother was a fantastic, kind person and I feel I have to speak up on her behalf.

“If you had your mother in a care home would you expect her to come out looking the way she did?"

The Northern Echo contacted St Martin’s Care, the operator of Windermere Grange, but did not receive a response.

The latest CQC report said an accurate record was now being maintained of night-time checks on residents.

However it called for staffing levels to be reviewed so that staff could meet demands on them during the night.

A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said: “While we appreciate that Mr Middleton was dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaint he made, we are satisfied that a full and thorough investigation of the issues took place prior to the determination being reached.”