London hospital sorry for Olive Goom 'lonely' death

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Media captionMarion Hebbourne said the family was not consulted

A hospital has apologised for not asking an 85-year-old's family before putting her on an "end of life care".

Olive Goom died at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on 20 March 2011. Her niece said she was only told of the death when she went to visit her aunt.

Marion Hebbourne said she was "shocked" by the death and that nobody in the family was consulted about Miss Goom being put on a palliative care plan.

The hospital said it was "very sorry for the distress caused".

Ms Hebbourne, 68, from High Wycombe, said her aunt, who had been living in a care home for four years, was admitted to the hospital in February after breaking a bone in her upper arm.

'Utterly abused'

Ms Hebbourne said that two days before Miss Goom died she visited the hospital and left her numbers saying she was going to a wedding.

"I generally thought she was poorly but I also thought there was no reason to rush to a hospital to be with her at her end," the niece said.

Image caption Marion Hebbourne said nobody in the family was consulted about the care plan

She called on the Friday and on Saturday but was told her aunt was "comfortable".

But when she and a cousin went to the hospital on Sunday, 20 March, they were told Miss Goom had died earlier that day.

Ms Hebbourne said: "They said that she had been put on a palliative care plan and they asked me if I understood that and I said 'No, I really don't know what you are talking about'.

"She died completely and utterly on her own.

"The palliative care plan does say that relatives should be consulted and that has been completely and utterly abused."

A statement from the hospital said: "Chelsea and Westminster Hospital would like to apologise to Marion Hebbourne for failings in the way that our staff communicated with her in the days leading up to the death of her aunt Olive Goom in March 2011.

"We are very sorry for the distress caused to Ms Hebbourne."

The hospital said it has revised its procedures following an investigation.

The statement said: "Instead of a single tick-box for staff to confirm that relatives have been involved in discussions about end of life care, staff now have to specify what was discussed, when and with whom."

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