Eighty-three-year-old Renee Remy died alone, confused and in pain at a care home in Northfleet.

Her daughter Caroline claims she did not receive the care she deserved and sent the letter further down this page to us and the Prime Minister.

Reporter KELLY SMALE takes a look back at Renee's life.

Renee Remy

RENEE Winnie Remy was born on October 10 1927 in Doncaster.

She had three brothers and three sisters but sadly two of the girls died in childhood.

Her parents Louise and Albert Norris, a carpenter, moved the family to the Streatham area when Renee was a child and she attended a school in Brixton.

When she was 12, World War Two broke out and she was evacuated to Wales where she ended her schooling aged 14.

In April 1944 Renee volunteered for the British Red Cross, aged 17, and then started a job in the stock exchange in her 20s.

News Shopper: Renee married

She met her husband David Remy, an engineer, aged 26, and they married in Brixton in 1953 before settling in Hartley.

The couple moved to Beckenham after having two children, Caroline and Peter, but sadly the marriage ended in the late 70s.

This is when Renee began to collect antiques and attend boot fairs with her daughter.

News Shopper: Renee Remy in India

She loved being involved in Freemasonry, serving as treasurer and secretary, and travelling abroad to Australia, Spain, Italy and India.

Her daughter Caroline Remy, of Bunkers Hill, Sidcup, said: "She was very spirited and didn't take fools gladly.

"She said what she meant. You wouldn’t want to cross her."

The 55-year-old added: “She had a very strong personality and was very independent.”

Renee survived a heart attack in her 40s and a battle against breast cancer.

At 77 the grandmother-of-three was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

She died aged 83 on August 3 this year at St Peter’s Nursing Home, in Council Avenue, Northfleet.

Miss Remy, a mother-of-two, told News Shopper: “If she knew that’s how she would have ended up she would have hung herself. She would have done something.

“This won’t bring my mum back. It won’t make me feel any better about how my mum died but hopefully other people will read it.

“I hate to think of other elderly people and their families going through what we went through.”


To whom it may concern

Sadly my mother, Mrs. Renee Remy, passed away on the 3rd August 2011. She died alone, confused and in pain. If she were a dog the RSPCA would have been involved.

My mother was a proud, intelligent woman who lived life to the full with a good standard of living. In her younger years she never received money from the state; only as she retired did she receive her pension and then later the Council took over a percentage of the care fees when she was unable to pay.

In November 2008 she fell at home and broke her hip and arm. She had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia before this incident but unfortunately the accident accelerated the disease and consequently social services took her care out of her family’s hands and wanted her placed in a care home.

Social services would not let her return to her own home. She was firstly sent to Orpington hospital for her aftercare where the staff found her difficult to care for.

On one incident she took a knife and threatened someone; this was not normally in my mother’s nature but since the dementia her personality had changed and she would believe people were threatening her or even trying to kill her.

Eventually we found her a care home which cared for people with dementia. Someone from the care home came and assessed her. I do not know if the assessment meant that they asked the medical staff at the hospital as to her history whilst she had been there.

She was accepted and moved into Honeyfield’s. She spent the next two years of her life there. My mother was then moved to St. Peter’s Nursing Home in Northfleet.

She did not have the freedom of movement she had in Honeyfield’s as she did not have access to her walking frame. As she suffered from osteoporosis, she became less and less mobile.

She spent most of her time in the lounge. There was nowhere for her to go apart from the toilet. To go to her bedroom or dining area she had to be supervised. I found that the staff there, apart from one or two, never seemed very friendly.

News Shopper: Caroline Remy

The Sunday before she died I was called by a member of staff who told me my mother had stopped eating and drinking, thinking she was being difficult I said “Shall I come and see if I can get her to eat or drink?”.

The member of staff said “No”. I then said “what are you trying to say, is she getting near the end?” He answered “yes”. There was no compassion or understanding in his voice.

That afternoon I went to see her and I found her in her bedroom sitting in a chair looking very uncomfortable. I offered to put a cushion behind her back which she accepted.

We chatted and she drank a small amount of liquid but I could see she was far from well. Concerned, I went and visited her the following day on Monday and realised my mother was declining rapidly.

Again she was sitting uncomfortably in a chair and again I asked her if she would like a cushion and she accepted.

By now she was obviously unable to take her medication so the paracetamol that was prescribed for her was not helping her osteoporosis, that is if it ever was.

I had asked previously if she could be prescribed something stronger but it fell on deaf ears.

I went home on the Monday and rang her relatives to say she would not be with us much longer.

News Shopper: Why can't we look after our old folk?

Tuesday morning my sister-in-law visited her; again she was sitting in a chair and again she was very uncomfortable and my sister in law put a cushion behind her to try and make her more comfortable.

She noticed her breathing was becoming a rattle. I visited in the afternoon and told a member of staff about her breathing and that she really was not well. I was told she was not that bad.

I could not find anyone on the floor that my mother was on who was deemed to be in charge. When I got home I rang and told the lady that answered the phone that my mother had not been checked for the duration of my visit in the afternoon and that she could have fallen out of the chair.

I was informed that they would have known! How I ask myself? I was seriously concerned so I returned to the Home that evening where I found my mother had deteriorated.

By now the staff had had a shift change. I spoke to a male nurse who agreed her breathing was not good and he would call the doctor.

I said I did not want her taken to hospital and given drugs to prolong her life, but I did want her cared for and kept comfortable, and we talked about her having some type of pain relief.

By now as it was the evening at least she was not uncomfortable in a chair but in bed. Whilst I was there my mother seemed distressed, her breathing was laboured but a member of staff said “she will not die tonight”.

Eventually at 10.30 pm she seemed to be a bit more peaceful so I went home, hoping to return early in the morning to see her.

The home rang me at 12pm to tell me the doctor had been and given her antibiotics. I said “why?”, she wanted to be kept comfortable with pain relief, not antibiotics, what good would they do to someone that was dying?”. I then got another phone call at 6.30am to say she had just died.

The member of staff told me that at 6am he knew she did not have long. I asked why did they not ring me, then at least she would not have died alone. My mother did not deserve to be treated the way she was in the last few years of her life and especially to die alone and in pain.

My mother’s last few months in this home were horrendous she was not treated with any compassion or dignity. I saw her manhandled to be weighed the day before she died and various other incidents which I did mention to staff.

I cannot change the way my mother suffered but I hope reading this letter you will do something that other residents and their families in care homes will not suffer the same.

St Peter’s Nursing Home told News Shopper it will not be commenting on the story as an investigation is under way.

Next week

News Shopper will be looking at how the elderly are cared for in this country and the practicalities involved in moving loved ones into care.

If you have any personal experiences, call the newsroom on 01689 885734 or email ksmale@london.newsquest.co.uk