East Grinstead care home fined £1.5m over choking death

June 24, 2022

A care home provider has been fined £1.5m after a resident choked to death at a West Sussex home.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) brought the prosecution against Care UK Community Partnerships Ltd, which runs Mill View in East Grinstead.

Crawley Magistrates’ Court found the home failed to meet a resident’s nutritional and hydration needs and protect them from avoidable harm. The 86-year-old male had been assessed as being at risk from choking.

He was admitted in April 2018 after being discharged from East Surrey Hospital, who had identified he was at risk of choking and needed a special diet of soft food. On 30 April 2018 a choking risk assessment was carried out by a Care UK team leader, but it did not identify any choking risk, the CQC said.

A CQC spokesman said: “On 16 May 2018, a Care UK regional nurse reviewed [the man’s] care plans and amended the eating and drinking plan to state that he ‘eats a normal diet and drinks normal fluids.’ A choking risk assessment was completed and, again, no choking risks were identified.”

Four days later, while having lunch he started to choke and became unresponsive, the spokesman said.

A post-mortem found he had eaten large pieces of meat and concluded the cause of death was choking on food.

“It was found that staff did not understand how to prepare the correct diet or to safely support the resident to eat and drink. The service also failed to maintain accurate care records,” the CQC spokesman said.

Care UK Community Partnerships Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment to the man, and was fined £1.5m and ordered to pay the CQC’s costs of £27,000.

Following the hearing, Care UK regional director Georgina Stocker apologised to the man’s family.

She said: “Following this incident, we implemented a number of improvements across our homes to ensure we learn from this experience and minimise the chances of it happening again.

“These have included retraining everyone who might serve a meal, enhancing record keeping about people’s dietary requirements and scheduling different dining times, where needed, to give colleagues more time to support individual residents.”

 

This is valid as of 24th June 2022.

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