Heartbreaking footage has emerged showing a 92-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Selwood, falling and desperately calling for help for 22 minutes in the middle of the night at a care home in Greenhithe, Kent. The distressing incident was captured by a secret camera installed by her concerned family.
In the video, shared by her granddaughter Samantha Tyson, Ms. Selwood can be seen attempting to cross the room to reach a chair when she loses her balance and falls to the floor. She is shown begging and screaming while banging her walking stick on the ground, desperately trying to alert the staff.
The following day, Ms. Selwood was admitted to the hospital, where she contracted a chest infection and tragically passed away ten days later. One year after the incident, Ms. Tyson, a beautician from Dartford, initiated a campaign to advocate for the implementation of surveillance cameras in care homes nationwide.
Approximately two minutes of the footage, depicting Ms. Selwood’s fall and subsequent cries for help, were shared on TikTok. The video illustrates the elderly woman’s struggle as she tries to reach the chair before slipping and falling to the floor. She repeatedly calls for assistance and hits her walking stick against the floor and bed, but it takes a distressing 22 minutes before a staff member finally enters her room to check on her, reported Daily Mail.
The footage captures two care workers discovering Ms. Selwood and inquiring about the incident. One of them leaves the room, mentioning the need to call an ambulance, while the other departs shortly thereafter, leaving Ms. Selwood alone on the floor.
Expressing her grief and determination, Ms. Tyson stated that thousands of elderly people suffer neglect and abuse in care homes each year, and her grandmother was a victim of such circumstances. She believes that installing cameras in all care homes would not only safeguard residents but also protect staff against false allegations.
Ms. Tyson and her family were only able to review the footage the next morning when Ms. Selwood was already in the hospital, and they were horrified by what they witnessed.
According to Ms. Tyson, her grandmother was classified as a high fall risk, and her room was located far from the communal lounge. Ms. Selwood had fallen on previous occasions, and Ms. Tyson had expressed concerns that if she fell again, no one would hear her cries. On the night captured in the video, the room was dark, and Ms. Selwood attempted to reach the chair but slipped and fell.
Ms. Tyson highlighted that the fall mat, intended to alert staff, was faulty, resulting in Ms. Selwood enduring 22 minutes of screaming and banging without any assistance. The family was deeply disturbed by the lack of compassion and care displayed by the staff during the subsequent interaction with Ms. Selwood. Both individuals left the room without comforting her or inquiring about her well-being.
Ms. Tyson emphasized that the majority of care home staff are dedicated professionals who provide compassionate care and treat residents like family. She acknowledged their hard work, long hours, and the immense pressure they face daily. While recognizing that a small percentage of caregivers may be neglectful, she called for the protection of elderly individuals and advocated for systemic changes in the care home industry.
Blossoms Care Home issued a statement to local media, stating that their staff followed appropriate procedures in response to the incident. A comprehensive report was submitted to the Kent County Council Safeguarding team, which found no evidence of neglect. The home acknowledged areas for improvement and took necessary actions to address them. The care home expressed regret over the unfortunate incident and extended empathy to Ms. Selwood’s family.