In August 2010 a 100-year old resident of a care home, who was suffering with dementia, was being moved by two inexperienced carers using a hoist, when the pensioner fell out of the hoist, suffering multiple fatal injuries.

The care workers had not been properly trained in how to use the hoist safely, leading to the pensioner’s death. In addition, the hoist was not recommended for the resident, given the resident’s complex needs.

care home

Conviction for the Care Home

In March 2015 the owners of the care home in Bedfordshire was fined £150,000, plus costs, under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The owner of the care home admitted the charges, apologising outside of court.

The presiding Judge said: “In this case the Defendants fell far short of the standards expected of them. There was no specific training in the use of this specific hoist which was a complicated piece of specialist equipment.”

Care home’s Involvement with the HSE

The care home had had many dealings with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE had served five improvement notices relating to resident handling, risk assessment and a lack of competent health and safety advice.

Karl Howes, from the HSE, said: “She (the deceased pensioner) was in a care home where she should have been looked after well and unfortunately in those circumstances she was dropped while being moved. It was totally avoidable.”

Forced Closure of the Care Home

The care home was eventually forced to close, because of the Care Quality Commission’s concerns relating to overall standards of care in the care home, following unannounced inspections. At the time of the forced closure around 70 residents, many of whom were suffering from dementia, had to be moved to different care homes around the county.

The CQC found that there was a shortage of experienced and qualified staff on duty. The CQC found that the standards in the care home fell below what the residents deserved and what was lawfully obligated. In tandem with the CQC, the local authority closed the care home to new admissions.

Georgina Parkin a specialist care home compensation solicitor at Truth Legal, commented:

This is yet another example of a dreadful care home which should not have been operating. Time and again we see care home operators putting profit before basic safety. This is another sorry tale of inexperienced and unqualified staff caring for residents with complex needs when they ought not to be. Residents with dementia require care workers who have been fully trained in how to look after such complex needs. Of course, it is too late for the poor lady who died at this care home, but thankfully with the enforced closure of the care home, other residents will be spared injury and indignity.”

With our main office in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and with virtual offices in York, Manchester and London, we serve clients throughout the country. If you have been injured in a care home due to the negligence of the care home operators, or if you are the relative of a person who has suffered injury in a care home, get in touch with our specialist team of solicitors today. Your consultation will be free and held on a no-obligation basis.

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Catherine Reynolds
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