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Care home prosecuted after death of vulnerable resident

The owner of a care home in Leicester has been in court after a vulnerable resident died from serious burns.

What happened?

In May 2012 85-year-old Walter Powley had been admitted to Western Park View care home after his occupational therapist had advised his family that his risk of falling was too great for him to be safely left home alone.

The court heard that four days after being admitted, Mr Powley fell in his room and became trapped between a wardrobe and a radiator.

He sustained serious injuries as a result, including burns right through the skin of his right leg from the radiator pipe and valves, along with burns to both legs from hot water leaking from the valve.

He died in hospital from his injuries eight days later.

An investigation into the incident found that he pipes and valves at the care home had not been covered, and were around 73 degrees centigrade to touch.

Additionally the care home was a aware that Mr Powley was at risk of falls, but the company failed to assess his room and take satisfactory action to control and manage any risks.

What was the outcome?

Western Park Leicester Ltd was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay a further £35,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE inspector, Dr Richenda Dixon, said:

“This was a foreseeable and preventable fatal incident. While most
of the residents at Western Park View are physically disabled
with limited mobility, Walter was not. He was more
mobile, and known to be so, hence at greater
danger from any risks in his room.

“The scalding or burning risks from the pipes were longstanding
and could have caused injury to any resident. Western Park
Leicester failed to heed published guidance from HSE
about the need to cover hot pipes and valves.
Had they been covered or boxed-in Walter’s
death could have been prevented.”

Source: View article

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