A 99-YEAR-OLD woman was left with weeping burns to her legs, feet and buttocks after allegedly being left in a scalding bath of up to 50 degrees at a rest home, a court heard.
Eight patients aged between 88 and 99 years old are alleged to have suffered at the hands of staff at Briarwood Care Home in Lostock Hall, near Preston.
Francis McEntee, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court dementia patients were force-fed food off the floor, while one woman with mobility problems was ‘drag-lifted’ as specialist lifting equipment was not charged up and smeared with faeces.
Others were shouted at and pushed back into chairs by bullying members of staff, the opening day of the trial was told.
Owners Meghadeven and Indranee Pumbien deny ill treatment and neglect of patients who lacked mental capacity.
Their employee Niphawan Berry, denies causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) by lowering 99-year-old Margaret Wheatley into a scalding hot bath.
The court heard Berry, 42, had been warned that the bath was too hot for colleague Laura Copling to put her hand in to remove the plug. The cold water had been turned on but minutes later Miss Copling heard Mrs Wheatley screaming out in agony. Initially she thought nothing of it because Mrs Wheatley, who was in the advanced stages of dementia, often screamed out.
However, when carers taking over the shift attended to Mrs Wheatley, they discovered blisters to her legs and buttocks and her slippers sodden with fluid from her injuries.
The court heard care home manager Idrannee Pumbien tried to pass the injuries off as cellulitis and Miss Copling overheard a conversation between Mr and Mrs Pumbien in which they discussed bursting the blisters to make the story appeared more plausible.
All three defendants are charged with ill treatment of Mrs Wheatley by failing to seek appropriate medical attention for her wounds.
Mr McEntee said: “Idrannee Pumbien behaved like a bully with both residents and staff at Briarwood. We say that her behaviour manifested itself in the ill treatment of residents and put staff in fear of challenging her behaviour.”
On one occasion, she was heard shouting: “Oh, you’re an animal? You want to be treated like an animal?” at Mrs Wheatley, who had suffered with dementia since before she started living at the home in 2007.
The court also heard about numerous occasions when Mrs Pumbien was seen force feeding patients - many of whom had physical and psychological difficulties with eating and drinking.
One nurse, who had visited the home to change Mrs Wheatley’s dressings saw Mrs Pumbien mushing up food between her fingers and forcing it into the mouth of patient Roy Brown, as she held his head with her other hand.
Others were force fed using a large metal spoon, the court heard.
The abuse was reported to the police but the court heard that during the course of the investigation Mrs and Mrs Pumbien tried to persuade witnesses to make false statements in a bid to cover up practices within the Brierwood Residential Care Home.
Berry, of Christ Church Street, Preston, denies one charge of GBH and one charge of ill treatment in which she is alleged to have pushed a patient forcibly back into his chair and a charge of neglect after failing to seek treatment for Mrs Wheatley’s scalds.
Idrannee, 59, and Meghadeven Pumbien, 64, of Grosvenor Place, Ashton, Preston, also deny neglect in respect of Mrs Wheatley’s injuries and perverting the course of justice.
Indranee Pumbien, denies 13 counts of ill treatment and Meghadeven denies neglecting to provide adequate lifting equipment and training.
The case continues.