A Hampshire care home provider has been fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £16,000 in prosecution costs after a man died following a choking incident.
Buckland Care Limited, which ran Merry Hall Nursing and Residential Care Home, now known as Hartwell Lodge in Fareham, Hampshire pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in avoidable harm, to Alec Marshall in March 2017.
The court heard that Mr Marshall’s daily handover sheet identified his risk of choking and that he needed assistance in cutting up his food but did not explain requirements for monitoring or that food should be cut up into small pieces. On 12 March, 2017 he was given his lunch and left alone. Shortly afterwards he was found unresponsive in his room.
Paramedics were called and removed an approximately 2 inch by 1 inch piece of meat from Mr Marshall’s throat. Resuscitation was unsuccessful and Mr Marshall was pronounced dead at the scene.
Buckland Care was found to have failed to give enough guidance in relation to choking risk in its care documentation and its handover process did not properly cover measures in place to prevent Mr Marshall’s choking.
Rebecca Bauers, Head of Adult Social Care Inspection in CQC’s south region, said: “This is a distressing case, and our thoughts and sympathies are with Mr Marshall’s family. He had every right to expect good, quality care and it is right that the provider has accepted responsibility in this case.
“It was the serious failure of the home to protect Mr Marshall from avoidable harm that led to CQC’s prosecution of the provider. In their role as provider, Buckland Care Services had a specific legal duty to ensure care and treatment was provided in a safe way. We found they had failed to do this by not ensuring risks had been fully assessed and measures were not in place to prevent harm.”
A Buckland Care spokesperson told CHP: “This was a tragic incident and we would like to offer again our sincere apologies and condolences to Mr Marshall’s family. The wellbeing and safety of our residents remains our absolute priority. Since the incident occurred 3 years ago, we have undertaken a thorough review of the service, which is now under a new management team. They have implemented measures to improve the service by introducing more robust processes and to provide increased levels of training to all our staff, who are working so hard during this pandemic.”