Care home row man banned from visiting wife

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The Independent Online

An investigation was under way today after a retired soldier alleged to have assaulted a care home worker was banned from seeing his elderly wife.

Dennis Woodward was his wife Hiltje's sole carer until she fell and broke her hip last year.

The 90-year-old visited her every day at the £895-a-week Canford Chase nursing home in Branksome Park, Poole, Dorset.

But he was banned after allegedly grabbing a care worker at the home by the throat and dragging her across the room, causing injuries to her neck on Sunday.

Mr Woodward denies attacking the staff member and said he fell and put his arms out for help.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "A female member of staff at the nursing home called the police at 5.14pm on Sunday August 2 2009 alleging an assault on a female member of staff by a male visitor at the Canford Chase nursing home in Poole.

"Two police officers attended and an investigation is being carried out. No-one has been arrested."

The couple met when Mr Woodward was a soldier in Singapore during the Second World War and she was a nurse for the Dutch forces.

Staff at the home placed a number of restrictions on Mr Woodward, he said.

He was stopped from feeding his 88-year-old wife in case she choked and from moving her in case she was injured. Mr Woodward was also told to keep his wife's door wide open so they could check on her.

Mrs Woodward suffered brain damage following surgery five years ago and needs a high level of care.

"We've had 63 lovely years. Now we're ending our lives like this. I can't believe it," he told the Daily Echo newspaper

But Ian Hudson, managing director of Colten Care, which runs the home, said: "Concerns have been expressed regarding the safety of a service user which is being dealt with by the safeguarding adults team.

"There was an incident involving a visitor at the home, as a result of which the police were called and a member of staff had to go to hospital.

"To ensure the safety of our residents and staff, the visitor has been informed to not enter the home at this time."

A spokesperson for NHS Bournemouth and Poole, which funds Mrs Woodward's place at the home, said: "We are aware of the allegations and, with the home, are working to resolve complex and difficult issues."