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September 26, 2014

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Resident’s burn related death leads to nursing home fine

A nursing home in Deeside has been fined £5,000 after an 88-year-old resident suffered burns in a bath of scalding water.

Beatrice Morgan, a resident at Greencroft Nursing Home in Aston, Queensferry, died of complications caused by her injuries a month after the incident.

HSE investigated and prosecuted the home’s owner, Greencroft Care Ltd, which is now in liquidation, at Mold Magistrates’ Court on 25 September.

The court heard that, on 29 August 2012, Miss Morgan, who was unable to walk, was lowered into the bath using a hoist and immediately cried out when she touched the water. Although she was quickly raised from the bath, she suffered nine per cent burns and was taken to Whiston Burns Unit where she later died.

HSE’s investigations found that the temperature of the hot water was not properly controlled to prevent it exceeding 44˚C. Although mixing valves had been fitted to control the temperature they had not been maintained and were not of the right standard required in nursing homes.

Staff had been instructed to check water temperature with a thermometer before baths, but no checks were made by management to ensure this was happening. There had been a failure by the company to fully assess risks involving use of hot water and to provide sufficient training, instruction and supervision to staff.

Greencroft Care Ltd of Larch Avenue, Aston, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £5,000. The judge at the hearing said if the firm had not been in liquidation he would have sent the case to crown court, where the fine would have been at least £100,000.

HSE inspector Katharine Walker, speaking after the hearing, said: “This tragic incident could easily have been avoided if Greencroft had observed the readily available guidance on bathing vulnerable people. The company fell well short of the desired standards.

“Miss Morgan suffered a great deal of unnecessary pain before her death. Nursing homes and other organisations caring for vulnerable people must make sure they fit and maintain the right kind of mixer on hot bath taps and properly supervise their staff.”

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Bob Wallace
Bob Wallace
7 years ago

Do we really need to provide IIT&S to people about the dangers of hot water!! While we have a race to the bottom regarding health care costs that people and local authorities are prepared to accept; the standard of employees in these places will often reinforce the old saying “pay peanuts and get monkeys”. Although most care home workers are great, when it’s a commercial enterprise the bottom line counts and costs will always be cut during economic hardship and increased running costs. How much are parents prepared to pay for child care in nurseries, which is another example of… Read more »