'Severe neglect' before deaths at Northampton care home
Five elderly people who died within two weeks of each other at a care home in Northampton suffered "severe neglect", an official inquiry has concluded.
The Parkside House Nursing Home residents, who were aged from 83 to 100, died between 22 July and 6 August 2009.
A serious case review into the deaths found standards at the home had declined since previous inspections.
It said by July 2009 the home "simply could not manage".
The Northamptonshire Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults (SOVA) Board looked into the deaths.
Fears for health
Concerns began when an elderly woman was admitted to hospital with severe pressure sores.
Her condition was considered by hospital staff to be consistent with "severe neglect". She died the following day, on 22 July.
A resident with similar pressure sores died on the same day at the home.
Three people were moved out of the home amid fears for their health, the review report said.
One died in a community hospital on 28 July while two died in separate care homes on 4 and 6 August.
Parkside's remaining residents were moved elsewhere and its registration was later cancelled.
Verdicts of natural causes were recorded in all five deaths, but the review found they died from causes that "were considered to be consistent with the effects of severe neglect".
The panel said an action plan had been put in place to prevent a similar situation developing at any other care home in the county.
Northamptonshire County Council said the residents, two of whom had been placed at the home by the authority, had been "let down" by the quality of management and nursing care.
The Care Quality Commission said an inspection on 22 July 2009 found specialist mattresses were not being used properly and residents were not always receiving appropriate care.
The home was rated "adequate" in November 2008, and was due to be inspected again within a year, but the watchdog was alerted in July by Northampton General Hospital.