In a recent case highlighting care home negligence, the registered providers of a South London care home have been prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for failing to provide safe care and treatment after a 79-year-old resident suffered serious burns as a result of falling against an uncovered radiator in November 2015.
The resident, Mrs Walters, was suffering from dementia and speech difficulties and was also known by staff at the home to be at high risk of falling. According to reports, the resident was found in the early morning lying on the floor of her bedroom with part of her back pressed against an uncovered radiator. The skin that was in contact with the radiator had become stuck to the hot surface which left Mrs Walters severely burned and she required skin grafts on the injured area of her back.
Prosecution of the Case
As a result of the injury, the Care Quality Commission brought a prosecution against the care providers of Manor House Residential Home in Morden, South London with the case being heard in Highbury Magistrates’ Court in January 2017.
The prosecution told the court that the risk of serious injury had not been adequately controlled and that the accident was avoidable as the installation of radiator covers in the home could have prevented the injury.
In further exploring the issue of negligent care in the residential home, the court also heard that Mrs Walters had not been seen for over an hour before she was found. Although she had difficulty verbally telling staff how long she’d been there, when asked she “placed her hands far apart”.
The registered providers of the home, pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm under Regulation 12 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 and were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £24,600.
Debbie Ivanova, CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said: “This incident was entirely avoidable. The risk of people sustaining serious burns from uncovered radiators is something all care homes should be aware of. Mrs Walters was known to be at high risk of falling over. Yet the registered provider failed in its duty to ensure that care and treatment was provided in a safe way, and as a result Mrs Walters was seriously burned.”
“Residents falling in home, when the falls could and should have been avoided, are sadly something that we are seeing a lot of. Not only should care providers do all that they can to avoid falls, but dangerously hot radiators must be shielded. The pain experienced by the resident is quite unimaginable.”
While a criminal prosecution punishes the care home management for their failings, this may be of little comfort to you if you or a loved one has suffered as the result of neglect. Compensation can never make up for such treatment, but it may ease financial difficulties that arise from it. Truth Legal are specialists in this area of law, and we represent injured people throughout the country. If you have been injured in a care home, or if you are the relative of someone who has suffered injury in a care home, and you want a confidential, no-obligation consultation, please get in touch with one of our specialist solicitors today.
If you’re already pursuing a claim for care home negligence, injury or abuse but feel that your current solicitors do not have the correct level of expertise, you can consider changing solicitors. For more information on how to switch solicitors and get the professional service you deserve, click here.