A care home based in Fleet, Hampshire has been fined after an elderly resident who had difficulties swallowing choked to death on food which had not been cut up.
Winchester Crown Court heard how Mrs Margaret Humphreys’ family had arranged for her to stay at Marlborough House for respite care. They had left clear instructions with the home verbally and in the form of a laminated card which clearly explained how her food needed to be cut into small pieces to avoid the risk of choking.
HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said after the hearing: “This was a completely avoidable tragedy. The home was informed in the clearest terms that if Mrs Humphreys was presented with food that was uncut, she would choke, this crucial information was ignored.
“Had Marlborough House properly assessed Mrs Humphreys, the risk of her choking would have been identified and measures put in place to control this risk.
“This case sends out a clear message to the care home sector, illustrating the importance of listening to residents’ family’s instructions and to also properly assess and provide the same standard of care to respite residents as they would to permanent residents. This tragic case must act as a reminder of the importance of properly assessing new residents and that vital information must be properly communicated to care staff.”
For further information on health and safety for the health services: http://www.hse.gov.uk/healthservices/