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Care home fined £80,000 after vulnerable woman suffers avoidable harm

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A care provider has been fined £80,000 after an 87-year-old woman suffered avoidable harm at its nursing home.

Lanemile Limited, which is owned by Care UK, was issued with the fine at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday after pleading guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment to Sylvia Macknay at Haven Lodge following a CQC prosecution.

The court heard how Mrs Macknay, who had suffered a stroke in her own home, was admitted to Haven Lodge in August 2016 having been fitted with a catheter during her stay in hospital.

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On 3 September 2016, Mrs Macknay’s daughter visited the home where she found her mother semi-conscious in bed, in considerable distress and calling for help.

She alerted staff who found Mrs Macknay’s catheter was blocked. Mrs Macknay was admitted to Colchester General Hospital where she sadly died the same day. Urinary sepsis associated with her catheter was cited as her cause of death.

A CQC investigation found serious failings in Mrs Macknay’s care, including a lack of appropriate assessment before admission, gaps in staff training and poor communication. Carers were found to have not been trained in catheter care and the provider had not adequately monitored how much fluid Mrs Macknay was taking through a feeding tube or whether this corresponded with the urine collected in her urine bag.

The 87-year-old’s care plan also lacked detail and accuracy, with records referring to her by the wrong name and stating she should be encouraged to drink over a litre a day when she was nil by mouth.

Mary Cridge, CQC deputy chief inspector for adult social care, said: “This is a distressing case and I welcome Lanemile’s guilty plea.

“Sylvia Macknay had every right to expect safe care at Haven Lodge, but Lanemile failed in its specific legal duty to protect her from avoidable harm.

“The majority of care providers do an excellent job. However, when a provider puts people in its care at risk, we take action to hold it to account and protect people.

“I hope this prosecution reminds care providers they must always take all reasonable steps to manage risks to people’s safety.”

A spokesperson for Lanemile Ltd which runs the home said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences and apologies to the family of Mrs Macknay.  We accept that sadly, on a single day in September 2016, checks and record keeping on Mrs Macknay’s catheter and urine output were not carried out in accordance with our policies and usual high standards.

“Immediately after this happened, we did a full review so we could learn from this case. All care and nursing colleagues in the home took part in additional training on catheter care and maintenance and the importance of accurately recording fluid intake and urine production for residents fitted with catheters. In addition, a new regime of checks by senior team members was put in place. In the hearing, it was accepted that this was an isolated incident.

“Today this home is rated by the CQC as good in all areas and we are confident that it provides safe, compassionate care to everyone who lives there.”

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The author Lee Peart

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