'How can they do this to mum' - Anger as 87-year-old dumped at care home

Eileen Burchett

Eileen Burchett was left at the care home in a nightie - Credit: Supplied by the family

A family are demanding answers after a great-grandmother with dementia was dropped off at a care home wearing a nightie after being discharged from hospital without their knowledge.

Eileen Burchett, 87, was left at a Great Yarmouth care home on October 7 after being discharged from the James Paget University Hospital.

lesley sneesby

Lesley Sneesby outside her mother's home. She is appalled at the way she was dumped at a care home in a nightie. - Credit: Anthony Carroll

Mrs Burchett, who is deaf and was diagnosed with dementia in the last year, had been in the hospital after suffering a fall at her home in Burgh Castle on September 21.

On October 7 her son Rod Burchett had rang up the hospital ahead of visiting her and was informed she had been moved - without the family's knowledge.

To compound the family's anguish they are unable to visit Mrs Burchett at the Salisbury Residential Care Home at the moment, although they have praised the care home for its support and care so far.

The James Paget hospital has said it is under pressure to free up bed spaces and that in conjunction with social services it has followed discharge procedures.

However Norfolk County Council, which runs social services, says it was not informed about the discharge and will be following the matter up urgently with hospital bosses.

One of Mrs Burchett's daughters, Lesley Sneesby, lives next to her mother's home in the Kingfisher Holiday Park and seeing her empty property every day adds to her upset.

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Ms Sneesby, 65,  said: "They just put her in an ambulance and dumped her at the care home in a nightie.

"We are all just so angry. How could they do this to her? Why didn't anyone tell us this was happening? This is our mum.

"I am just so angry and feel sad for my mum."

Mr Burchett, 57 and from Gorleston, has complained to the James Paget about his mother's treatment.

He said: "It's disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful. She was treated just like an item."


An aerial view of the James Paget University Hospital - Credit: JPUH

Mrs Burchett lived alone and has five children, 14 grandchildren and had seven great-grandchildren 

Mrs Burchett's family say that there had been an early conversation about moving her to Salisbury Residential Care Home, but her children said they did not approve and asked for it to be stopped on October 4.

Ms Sneesby said: "As far as we were concerned it was stopped, but it looks like it was all sorted behind our backs. 

"I feel I have let my mother down."

Ms Sneesby praised the care home for the way they have looked after her mother, who she described as "a very funny and loving" woman.

A spokesman for the James Paget University Hospital, said: “Our hospital has been extremely busy recently, with considerable pressure to find beds to allow seriously ill patients to be admitted.

"Once patients have received essential acute medical care it is likely they will be discharged either back to their own home or to a short-term placement while an assessment can be made of their needs.

"Discharge procedures are followed and we liaise with appropriate partner agencies, including social workers, with the best interest of the patient guiding this process.”

However Norfolk County Council’s director of community health and social care operations, Laura Clear, said: "We were not informed that Mrs Burchett had been discharged. There is enormous pressure in the health and social care system, but this should not have happened and we are following up with the James Paget Hospital to understand what led to this situation.”

Carl Smith is the county councillor for the Breydon Division which covers Burgh Castle and he says he will raise the matter with the relevant social services team at Norfolk County Council to see if similar incidents can be prevented.

Councillor Carl Smith, deputy leader of Great Yarmouth Borogh Council. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

County councillor Carl Smith said he would be looking for answers over the discharge - Credit: Archant

Mr Smith, who is also leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: "It sounds dreadful. There's no excuse for doing that.

"I will write to the relevant department at the county council and I will try and get answers."