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Man died after fall in sheltered accommodation, inquest hears

George Roberts & Will Taylor

George Roberts & Will Taylor

There is ‘no evidence’ the death of a 68-year-old man who fell in sheltered accommodation could have been prevented, despite the ‘failure’ of carers, a coroner concluded on Thursday.

Colin McVean, from Ascot, died at Maudsley House, a sheltered housing scheme in Ray Street, Maidenhead, in April last year.

An inquest into his death at Reading Town Hall heard Mr McVean, who had high blood pressure and a history of excessive drinking and falls, was taken to Frimley Park Hospital while living in Ascot after he complained of feeling weak. Following treatment at the hospital, Optalis, the Royal Borough’s adult services company, drew up a care plan. It moved him to Maudsley House, and in March 2017 commissioned Carewatch, a care agency, to look after him. Carewatch does not specialise in problem drinkers, and the inquest heard there was evidence Mr McVean had been drinking after his discharge.

Carers, who would visit three times a day, noticed he had blood on his head – possibly from a fall – a few days before he died, but neither his family or GP were notified.

The inquest heard Mr McVean denied he had been drinking or had fallen, despite the blood and empty alcohol bottles in his flat.

On Saturday, April 1, 2017, he was found dead in his flat lying close to the radiator by a carer, who believed he could have fallen and hit his head on it.

Coroner Peter Bedford concluded on Thursday the fall was caused by a small haemorrhage in his brain stem and his skull cracked upon impact with the radiator, causing a fatal brain bleed.

Mr Bedford concluded Mr McVean would likely still have been at home at the time of the fall even if he had been seen by a doctor.

He said: “While greater care could have been given I do not believe this would have achieved anything significant. It is regrettable there was a failure by the Carewatch carers and an underappreciation of the risks.

“However, it is very possible had he been examined he still would not have been admitted to hospital and remained at the house.

“There is no evidence that the outcome would have been different.”

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