Care home fined after pensioner falls to his death (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
Send photos, video and news by texting GUARDIAN SERIES to 80360 (cost 10p), or email us
Waltham Abbey care home fined after dementia patient dies
A nursing home has been fined £175,000 after an elderly dementia patient fell to his death from a window.
Ken Terrey, 74, died from injuries he sustained after falling from a first floor window at Paternoster House in Paternoster Hill, Waltham Abbey, because the restrictor was broken and it failed to prevent it opening wide.
Barchester Health Care Homes Ltd, based in Chelsea Harbour, London, pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach on March 6 2011, and was fined £175,000 with £22,946 costs by a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court.
It has a similar previous conviction in 2001 involving a fatal fall from a window at Chalfont Lodge nursing home in Bucks, for which it was fined £20,000 at Aylesbury Crown Court.
Judge Anthony Goldstaub QC said: "There were systemic failings, falling far short of the appropriate standard, in particular inadequate training, inadequate inspection and safety audit routines and a failure to implement such maintenance procedures as had existed."
He said there should have been two restrictors, at the top and bottom of each window, limiting their opening to 100mm.
The court heard the housekeeper had twice reported the window needed maintenance and the two panes opened to 160mm and 170mm.
Health and Safety Executive prosecutor, Richard Tutt, said: "At about 6.10pm, retired police officer Michael Nelson was outside and saw a window fully open with a blanket hanging towards the ground.
Mr Terrey fell backwards after stepping out of the open window and trying to lower himself down, but was still conscious after the event and staff helped him back inside.
He had bruising and a balloon shaped protrusion on his rib cage and was taken to Whipps Cross hospital by ambulance but died two days later.
In an impact statement Mr Terrey’s widow, Ann Terrey, 75, of Buckhurst Hill, said she now had constant financial and other worries.
She said: "What cannot be overcome or faced is my broken heart of 52 years."
Mrs Terrey added "I struggle not to feel bitter and alone at the loss of my husband. I miss speaking to him and seeing him smile when I arrive to see him.
"Not only have Barchester taken from me the love of my life, they have taken away the quality of my life which.
"Tragedy like this should never be allowed to happen again and I hold Barchester Care Homes fully accountable for the death of my husband."
Mitigating for the company, Henry Charles said Barchester apologised to Mrs Terrey.
He added: Her "very moving" statement had brought home the consequences.
"What happened should never have happened and Barchester acknowledges Mrs Terrey's grievous loss," he said.
Barchester said it had replaced 10,000 window restrictors in all of its care homes since the accident and "substantially beefed up" its reporting and checking processes at all levels.
The lawyer added that Barchester, which employs 14,000 people, had won numerous awards for its standards of provision of care homes and its performance as an employer.
Comments are closed on this article.