A care home provider has been fined £125,000 after a 75-year-old resident tragically died after choking on fish and chips.
Four Seasons Health Care, which admitted breaching health and safety regulations, was further ordered to pay £45,000 in costs following the case at Preston Crown Court where details of the negligence were uncovered.
The court heard that Rita Smith, who suffered from dementia and motor neurone disease, should only have been given pureed food, but was provided with a meal of fish and chips at a film and supper evening at the Euxton Park Care Home on December 1, 2010.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the Chorley home had been made aware that Miss Smith had difficulty swallowing, needed pureed food on a teaspoon and supervision by a carer while eating.
But the information, which was decided by a specialist assessment carried out at the local hospital, had not been relayed to staff and the organisers of the entertainment evening, the investigation found.
Miss Smith was discovered slumped in a chair by a member of staff. A nurse
attempted to resuscitate her but she was later pronounced dead. A post-mortem found the primary cause of death was choking.
The UK’s biggest care home provider had also not carried out a care plan and risk assessment on her arrival at the home in November 2010, while it also emerged that a carer had left Miss Smith alone to eat un-pureed cereal in the days before the tragic incident.
Four Seasons Health Care (England) Ltd, of Groves Road in Douglas, Isle of Man, is part of the Four Seasons Health Care group, which runs more than 500 care homes and specialist care centres in the UK.
Source: Daily Mail
Date Published: March 15, 2014
Author: David Brown