Nicola Moore Obituary – An unwell Cranbrook woman being temporarily housed in an Exeter hotel after becoming homeless was found passed away in her room. Her body was found in bed the day after being told an ambulance would not be sent out to her because her needs were not life-threatening. A welfare check was carried out on Nicola Moore on October 5, 2022, at the Great Western Hotel – now closed – because her GP had been unable to contact her that morning after she failed to turn up for an appointment at Cranbrook Medical Practice. The cause of her death was confirmed as pneumonia.
An inquest at Exeter’s Coroners Court today, January 11, heard the 40-year-old had a history of depression and anxiety which escalated after she was diagnosed with early onset epilepsy in 2021. The decline in her mental health led her to be unable to work as a cleaner and eventually resulted in Ms Moore losing her home. She had been living at the Great Western Hotel for a month. In a statement, her son Kieran whom she was very close told how she had struggled to accept being diagnosed with epilepsy and had not coped well.
He recalled: “She stayed in bed a lot of the time. Life changed because this is when she started to drink which became a problem. Every single day I would worry about her. It was a horrible feeling.”He added: “Mum was distraught when she lost her home. It was all too much to cope with and a horrible time for both of us.”
The last time he saw her was the day before she passed away. He said: “She was not in a good way. She had slurred speech and could not get out of bed.”
Ms Moore had been receiving support from various agencies. In a statement, an Exeter City Council temporary accommodation officer told how she had carried out a room check where Ms Moore was staying on either September 27 or 28, and that she she complained of feeling unwell and had some chest pains. A GP appointment was booked for the following day and she assured me she was ‘okay’.
The officer told how the condition of the room and signs of self-neglect prompted her to report a need for additional support to Ms Moore’s case manager. She carried out another room check on October 4 – the day before Ms Moore passed away – at around 12.30 pm and was so concerned for her welfare that she rang 999 to request an ambulance which Ms Moore had agreed to. She said: “The call handler used words to the effect that the ambulance service was very busy and as it was not immediately threatening to life to ring 111. Her case manager said they would contact her GP and stressed it needed to be a home visit.”
An employee with the adult safeguarding team confirmed in a statement they had received safeguarding concerns and a referral for a Care Act assessment had been made, but her priority needs at the time were medical. A post-mortem examination confirmed Ms Moore had not been intoxicated at the time of her death. An investigation launched by South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust following her death concluded the call handler’s response had been appropriate.
Her GP told in a statement that she had not attended an appointment at the surgery the day before she was found passed away so he had rung her the following morning and when she did not respond he called 999 for a welfare check to be carried out.
Recording a conclusion of natural causes, assistant coroner Luisa Nicholson said: “Nicola complained about being unwell in the days before and did not engage well with support services offered to her and was not looking after herself.” She added: “I am satisfied there were no missed opportunities for preventing this outcome.” The Great Western Hotel was previously used by the council for temporary accommodation for homeless people. It is now closed and its website states ‘there are no plans to open again shortly’.