The children of an Andover woman who died at a Whitchurch care home have paid tribute to their “caring and funny” mother.

Susan ‘Sue’ Jane Rushworth passed away at Berehill House Nursing Home following a series of falls in the months leading up to her death. Her children, Kate Williams and Richard Taylor, paid tribute to the “devoted” 76-year-old during an inquest into her death at Winchester Coroners’ Court.

Describing Sue, Kate said: “She was a funny person with a great sense of humour, and she maintained her sense of humour until the day she died. Nothing was too much trouble for her. She loved her family and there is nothing she wouldn’t do for them.”

The assistant area coroner, Samantha Marsh, declared a verdict of accidental death.

Sue was born in 1944, and made a career in catering. Following her retirement, she continued to enjoy cooking as mother and grandmother, as well as having a passion for gardening.

“She took everything at face value,” said Richard. “She had no agendas, she was just happy.”

In 2018, Sue was diagnosed with vascular dementia; a condition caused by reduced blood flow to the brain. Kate cared for her mum as the primary carer, but said she became “increasingly confused” and so brought in additional support, but Sue continued to try and live an independent life.

Following further falls, which involved trips to hospital, Sue was subsequently given an interim bed at Berehill. Her GP, Dr Paul Baker, said that she “seemed to deteriorate” between May and June 2020, which he said was a “stepwise progression of vascular dementia”.

Staff at the nursing home said that “some days were better than others” for Sue, and asked for a referral for her with the older persons’ mental health team to help her. She began to recover for a time, but fell on July 16 and cut her face above the eye.

Her children were able to visit on July 25, but sadly Sue fell again on July 25 while walking unaided and broke her arm, which also caused a small bleed on the brain. The home said she was at a “very high risk of falls”, and that Sue would often walk “without identified purpose”, and not use her zimmer frame on some of these occasions.

The coroner said she was “not entirely sure if cognitive impairment or Sue’s determination” caused her not to use the frame.

Following the fall on July 25, she was admitted to Basingstoke hospital, and following treatment, was returned to the home.

On August 13, paramedics were called to the home shortly after midday, where Sue was hot to the touch and suffering from potential jaundice. They were told she had deteriorated and prepared to take her to A+E, but Sue began to decline rapidly. She passed away that afternoon.

A post-mortem examination found that aside from a subdural haematoma, a collection of blood around the brain, there was “nothing significant of note”. Sue’s medical cause of death was given as the haematoma, contributed to by frailty. Additional medical conditions, such as Type II diabetes and stage three chronic kidney disease, were listed as additional factors.

Delivering her verdict, the coroner said that “quite sadly she [Sue] was prone to falling” and said that the risk was “unmodifiable” by the care home, adding there were “no missed opportunities” in her death.

Paying her condolences to the family, she gave a verdict of accidental death.