Identifying hazards in the care sector

The care home and nursing sector provides essential services to vulnerable people, and it is essential that care homes provide a safe and secure environment for its residents. Risk assessments can reveal and identify certain risks or dangers, and any findings must be acted on in order to prevent accidents or injury.
Unfortunately for the resident of a care home in Wrexham, no action was taken to secure the windows, despite an internal recommendation to avoid the use of chain restrictors. The patient, an elderly man of 79 who suffered from dementia, had managed to break the chain on his window several times, and had informed both staff and his family of his intention to leave the home.
Instead of reviewing the system used to secure the window of his first floor room, the care home took no action, despite their also being a vacant room on the ground floor. The man was discovered lying on the ground one day with severe head injuries and he later died in hospital.
The owners of the care home were fined £66,000 and were ordered to pay more than £42,000 in prosecution costs. The accident was avoidable, and underlines the importance of health and safety and care training as well as risk assessments.