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Over £136,000 Fine and Costs for Care Group Following Death of Resident

A nursing home based in Devon failed to ensure the safety of an elderly, partially sighted man who died from his injuries following a fall down a flight of stairs.

Mr Patrick Foal was a resident in the care home in Buckfastleigh; Devon when he accessed a staircase after a fire door had been left open. Due to his poor sight and his disorientation Mr Foal fell down the stairs resulting in serious head and facial injuries, he died the next day in Torbay hospital.

The court heard how long-term resident Mr Foal spent much of his time in his own room but did like to go outside for a cigarette at regular intervals during the day. However, Mr Foal was diabetic his eyesight had deteriorated over the past few months and he had become more disorientated - the open fire door had posed a significant risk of harm to him.

Health and Safety Inspector Mrs Georgina Speake said after the court hearing ‘Mr Foal was clearly a vulnerable resident Your Health Ltd (owners of the care home) failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment for him, neglected to make provision for Mr Foal’s deteriorating eyesight, which had been identified in his care plan notes, and did not act on his apparent increasing disorientation. This tragic incident could have been prevented and shows the vital importance of properly identifying and acting on foreseeable risks for elderly and disabled residents.’

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