An 84-year-old Spalding pensioner with dementia died after climbing through the window of a residential home where he had been admitted for respite care just 14 hours earlier.
Allan Redshaw was spotted by a neighbour lying collapsed in the driveway of the Bungalow care home in Park Road around 8am on Friday morning.
Mr Redshaw was taken to Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and a post mortem revealed that he had died from a heart attack.
Assistant manager at the home John Valmoria says staff have been devastated by the tragedy and are working with the Care Quality Commission, family and the police while the incident is being investigated.
But the family believes more could have been done to prevent Mr Redshaw, of Primrose Crescent, climbing through a window in the day room.
Stepson Peter Forster, step-daughter Jane Moorcroft and grand-daughter Rachel Forster spoke to the Spalding Guardian just hours after they were notified that Mr Redshaw had died.
Mr Forster said: “We had a family meeting on the Tuesday because Allan had been found wondering down the street not knowing where he was and we were worried about his safety.
“We would have liked to have found him somewhere for Wednesday but after consulting the doctor and social services a place was found for him at the Bungalow on Thursday.
“It was heartbreaking because he didn’t want to go and then when we got there he was distressed and wouldn’t settle down. He wanted to go home.”
Mr Redshaw was described as a sprightly man but the family said his condition had worsened during the previous two weeks.
Their intention was for him to have respite care at the Bungalow while his condition was stabilised and arrangements made for more help at his own home.
Mrs Moorcroft said she sat with him until around 7pm to help get him settled for bed and Rachel stayed on until 8.45pm.
Rachel said: “He even offered me pocket money to take him home.
“I asked a carer to keep an eye on him because I was worried about him. I wish I’d taken him home now.”
Mrs Moorcroft said: “We just feel so let down by the home and the system as a whole. It was such a big thing to let him go into care – and then in just 14 hours we were told he had died. We may never get over this feeling of guilt.”
Mr Valmoria, who has been assistant manager since September, said he was not on duty that night but the two care assistants left in charge had reported Mr Redshaw had been restless.
He said: “One of them was called to another resident at about 7am and in a short period of time this tragic accident happened. We are all devastated by this and talking openly to the family, police and other agencies involved.
“We are not a secure residential home and have low-level windows. The care assistants had been with him all night – if another resident had not called for assistance it could have been another story.”