Elderly Horsham man, 74, with dementia ‘slammed to the floor’ by Worthing Hospital security guard in ‘barbaric’ incident
An elderly dementia patient from Horsham was ‘slammed’ to the floor by a security guard in Worthing Hospital.
Chris Church, who also suffered from a heart condition, was ‘slammed to the ground and knelt on by a security guard’ in the early hours of February 12 last year after becoming confused at night, his daughter Sarah Oxby said.
She added that her father’s arms were pinned behind his back during the ‘barbaric’ incident.
Bodycam footage taken from the security guard’s perspective shows her father wandering about and the security guard asking him repeatedly to return to his bed, and explaining to him that he could not go into other areas of the hospital where patients were sleeping.
The security guard then asks her father not to push him, warns him again not to push, and then takes him down to the ground and restrains him.
The footage was shared with this newspaper by the family to raise awareness of the incident.
Sarah is calling for better training for staff in dealing with dementia patients after the ‘horrific’ incident which left her father with sore ribs and a bruised foot.
Sarah, 46, said: “[It was] the most horrific, upsetting, appalling and quite frankly disturbing violent assault on an elderly, vulnerable dementia sufferer.
“Dad’s 74, he’s in hospital with a heart condition and dementia and he was being pinned to the floor by a security man and who despite the nurses’ pleas would not get off him.
“He was just petrified. Nobody should go through that ever again.”
Worthing Hospital’s chief nurse Maggie Davies said the hospital is very sorry for the ‘distressing and unacceptable incident’.
She added: “[We] have apologised to Mrs Church and her family and we have involved them in the further development of our training programmes to improve care for dementia patients.
“We’ve now come to a decision to take the provision of these security services back in house.”
Before the incident Mr Church was admitted to hospital with a dangerously high heart rate on February 11 and Sarah said she forewarned staff that her father may become confused while kept in overnight.
But Mr Church left his bed in the early hours and when he became confused and refused to return to his bed security were called, ‘slamming’ him to the ground. Sarah said the security guard’s actions were ‘horrific’ and left her father ‘petrified’.
Mr Church died in May 2020, of an illness unrelated to the incident, Sarah added.
A spokeswoman for Securitas UK, which provided security services at the hospital at the time of the incident, said: “Securitas UK provides security services to Worthing Hospital, part of the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust.
“In the early hours of February 12 2020, our client sent an emergency request for a security officer to support the nursing staff who were dealing with an uncooperative male.
“On arrival at the ward, the security officer assessed the situation, observed the nursing teams’ actions and Mr Church’s aggressive responses and his refusal to co-operate.
“The security officer, in a professional manner, took control of the situation from the nursing team.
“At all times the security officer acted in accordance with the hospital’s process and procedures for security responses.
“Securitas UK supports several national and local charities, and when asked to make a charitable donation, we were happy to make a donation to The Alzheimer’s Society.”
Sarah said she wants all staff at the hospital to undergo training on how to deal appropriately.
Sarah said the body cam footage of the incident is the last thing she sees at night before going to bed.
She added: “Nobody should put their head on the pillow at night time and see their dad like that. I have got to live with that for the rest of my life.”