Care home provider fined £80K after vulnerable woman died after suffering avoidable harm

A care provider has been ordered to pay almost £100,000 after an 87-year-old woman suffered avoidable harm at its nursing home.

Lanemile Limited, which runs Haven Lodge, Clacton-on-Sea, was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £17,000 in costs at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court today.

The company had previously pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment to Sylvia Macknay at Haven Lodge, which caused her avoidable harm.

The court heard that in June 2016, Mrs Macknay suffered a stroke in her own home. She was admitted to hospital where, as part of her care, she was catheterised.

After eleven weeks, Mrs Macknay’s condition had improved enough for her to be discharged to Haven Lodge for nursing care. However, she remained reliant on a catheter.

A fortnight later, on 3 September, Mrs Macknay’s daughter visited the home. 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 subsequently transferred to Colchester General Hospital where, sadly, she died the same day. Urinary sepsis associated with the catheter was cited as a cause of her death.

A CQC investigation found serious failings in Lanemile’s care of Mrs Macknay, including a lack of appropriate assessment before it admitted her to Haven Lodge.

Following her admission, Mrs Macknay’s safety was threatened by gaps in staff training and poor communication. Lanemile expected its carers to escalate concerns to its nurses, however carers were not trained in catheter care so could not identify problems before they worsened.

Lanemile had also not ensured a process to monitor how much fluid Mrs Macknay received through a feeding tube, or whether this corresponded with urine collected in her catheter bag.

Mrs Macknay’s safety was further risked because the home’s plan for her care lacked detail and accuracy. Records referred to her by the wrong name and stated she should be encouraged to drink over a litre a day, when she was nil-by-mouth.

Lanemile admitted it failed in its statutory responsibility to provide safe care and treatment to Mrs Macknay, resulting in her suffering avoidable harm.

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.”

The case was prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who were awarded its £17,000 costs.

Haven Lodge is currently rated good. Information about the service, including its inspection reports, can be found on CQC’s website.

Picture (c) Google Maps.