An inquest heard that prior to the death of a 20-year-old mental health patient, worries about her being “trapped in a cycle” were voiced.

Who was Lauren Bridges?

In February 2022, Bournemouth resident Lauren Bridges passed away while receiving care at the for-profit Priory Cheadle Royal, close to Stockport.

Lauren was “deeply distressed” after being relocated 250 miles (400 km) away from her home, according to occupational therapist Kira Harvey.

On behalf of Dorset CCG, she paid Lauren several visits.

When Lauren first met Ms. Harvey in July 2021, she was a patient at the Priory in Dorking.

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Ms Harvey told Stockport Coroner’s Court she raised concerns to Dorset CCG about the hospital staff’s knowledge of autism, which Lauren had previously been diagnosed with.

Lauren had medical care from 2018 to 2022 in a variety of hospitals, several of which were “out of area” and far from her Bournemouth home.

Lauren was moved to the Cheadle Royal three days after she first met Ms. Harvey.

Since the family had to travel almost six hours round trip to see her as a result of the transfer, Lindsey Bridges described her daughter as “distressed and traumatised.”

After the move, Ms. Harvey continued to see Lauren while she was out of town.

She said before the court that following a visit in September 2021, Lauren’s condition appeared to have improved because her family had been informed that she could be moved to a rehabilitation facility.

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She had developed hope, according to Ms. Harvey. “I recall that she was generally optimistic despite the difficulties in the situation.”

Lauren was, however, “getting deeply distressed being so far away from home,” according to Ms. Harvey in October.

She thought back to an email that Mrs. Bridges had sent, which stated: “I’ve had Lauren on the phone in a complete mess, crying because nobody will sit with her, nobody will wash her hair, and nobody has time for her.”

Lauren was “very unhappy” when Ms. Harvey visited her once more in November.

“She was distressed that there didn’t seem to be any progress since my last visit about her being able to move. She wanted to be closer to her family.”

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The court was informed that Ms. Harvey sent a warning email to Dorset CCG’s management.

“The ongoing stresses of the environment and experiencing fear of other unwell clients is unfortunately making her less able to seem ready to leave, add to this the ongoing stress of being so far away from home,” the email’s author said.

“I found her to be in a very much worse state of mind than eight weeks ago, and I fear there is a risk she will be trapped in a cycle without a move.”

Due to a shortage of beds on rehabilitation wards, Dorset CCG, according to testimony in court, delayed Lauren’s transfer.

The inquest is still ongoing and is anticipated to last four weeks.