A 103-year-old woman died when she was left alone in a care home garden for two hours and fell down a flight of stairs.
Barbara Doodson, a resident at Reinbeck care home in Davenport, Greater Manchester, had gone outside to the garden where she liked to read, but no-one went to check on her until she had been found missing from her room.
She was pronounced dead in hospital after staff found her lying at the bottom of the stairs, an inquest heard.
Mrs Doodson, who was described by her daughter as ‘feisty and opinionated’, went outside with the help of a carer at 5.30pm.
Barbara Doodson, 103, was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs at Reinbeck care home in Davenport, Greater Manchester, and pronounced dead that evening, an inquest heard
But no-one went to see her until two hours later, by which time her bedroom had been found empty and no-one had touched the supper which had been delivered to her room.
Carer Emma Beaumont, who had taken the great-grandmother outside, said she raised the alarm when she could not find Mrs Doodson anywhere else in the building.
She said she had called after Mrs Doodson while she was outside, but when the elderly resident did not reply Miss Beaumont assumed she had not heard or had gone back inside.
Miss Beaumont told the coroner’s court: ‘I know it’s no excuse but I was busy at the time with serving supper, I thought she hadn’t heard me.’
Staff found the centenarian at the bottom of the stairs with head injuries, and she was pronounced dead at Stepping Hill Hospital.
Mrs Doodson’s daughter Jennifer Eley 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.’
Staff at Reinbeck care home in Davenport, Greater Manchester, called out while Mrs Doodson was outside but assumed she had not heard or had gone back to her room
The court was told that the stairs have since been replaced with a ramp and that the home now fills in an observation chart every 15 minutes.
Mark Ward of Borough Care, which runs the home on Bramhall Lane, 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. Reinbeck has been inspected twice in the past year, including as recently as September. On both occasions, the home was rated as good.’
Area coroner Chris Morris gave a narrative conclusion, saying: ‘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.’