Commode injury lands care home provider with £120k fine

The incident occurred at the Partridge Care Centre in Harlow in 2015, which is now under new ownership

A care home provider has been fined £120,000 after a 75-year-old woman sustained life changing injuries after being trapped in a commode shower chair.

Southend Magistrates Court ordered Rushcliffe Care Limited to pay an additional £170 victim surcharge plus £17,826.37 in costs following the incident which occurred at the Partridge Care Centre in Harlow in June 2015.

James Lester, prosecuting on behalf of the CQC, told the court: “Rushcliffe Care failed to take all reasonable steps and exercise all due diligence to ensure safe care and treatment was provided and that as a result a person using the service suffered serious avoidable harm.”

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The elderly resident required surgery and was left with a stoma and colostomy bag after slipping while using the commode shower chair. The court heard that the commode chair had no safety belt or foot plates.

During the prosecution, the court heard that the woman’s sitting balance had deteriorated in the months before the incident leaving her at risk of leaning forward or slipping while showering but no action had been taken.

Rushcliffe Care was found to have no policy or proper guidance for the use of commode chairs and staff who had showered the resident had no proper instruction on how to keep her safe.

The home had failed to refer the woman for a proper assessment despite the deterioration in her condition and the equipment was ruled to have been unsafe as it was the wrong size and provided insufficient support.

Rushcliffe Care has suspended use of the shower commode chair used by the resident and has transferred ownership of the home to Abbotts Care Centre Limited.

The CQC stressed that the prosecution was not related to the current provider or the home.

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