Care home prosecuted after resident’s fall
A Shropshire care home has been fined £100,000 after an elderly resident suffered fatal injuries during an outing to a shop.
Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that Joan Margaret Bloore, 79, was a resident at Hartlands Rest Home in Whitehall Street, Shrewsbury. She had been staying at the facility for about two months, when she was taken on an outing to a shop by a carer on 4 March 2011.
She walked to the shop with the help of the carer and the use of a wheeled walking frame. During the journey she fell and suffered head injuries. She died in hospital four days later from complications arising from her injuries.
An investigation was launched by Shropshire Council, which found that Mrs Bloore had a history of falls. Owing to health problems, she was required to be in a wheelchair when she was taken outside of the home. Despite a detailed written care plan being available for Mrs Bloore, carers had become accustomed to receiving verbal instructions from senior management on care requirements for residents.
D Roche Ltd, which manages the home, appeared in court on 7 August and pleaded guilty to breaching s3(1) of the HSWA 1974 and reg. 3(1) of the MHSWR 1999. It was fined £50,000 for each breach and ordered to pay £5479 in costs.
In mitigation, the company said it has taken action to improve communication between staff. Residents can now only be checked out of the premises if carers get a signature from senior staff, which confirms they understand the details of the resident’s care plan. The company had no previous convictions and cooperated with the investigation.
Speaking after the hearing, Shropshire Council cabinet member for health and safety Steve Charmley said:
“This fatal accident should never have happened. This is a tragic case of the death of an elderly lady, which was entirely preventable.”