Care home firm fined £60,000 after resident fell from hoist and died just days later

Chilton Croft Care Home in Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Chilton Croft Care Home in Sudbury. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg brown

A Suffolk care home company has been fined and ordered to pay costs of £110,000 for health and safety breaches after an 89-year-old resident fell out of a hoist and later died.

Sentencing Chilton Care Homes Ltd, which runs Chilton Croft care home in Newton Road, Sudbury, Recorder Gerard Pounder described the system used at the home for harnessing and hoisting residents as “a mess”.

Freda Cracknell, who had dementia, was in the process of being moved from her bed into a wheelchair by two carers with the aid of a hoist in November 2013 when she slipped out of a harness which was too big for her and broke her leg after falling three feet to the floor.

She was taken to hospital where she died nine days later, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

An investigation found failings in the hoisting system at the home including a lack of size markings on harnesses, an inadequate system for removing old harnesses and a “one size fits all” approach.

Investigators also found that staff had raised concerns about the safety of hoisting Mrs Cracknell prior to the accident but nothing was changed.

The company, based in Leytonstone, London, admitted failing to ensure a lifting operation for hoisting of residents was properly planned by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner and failing to ensure that patients were not exposed to risk of death or injury by hoisting.

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Fining the company £60,000 and ordering it to pay £50,268 costs Mr Pounder said he had read a number of testimonials from people who spoke highly of the care their relatives had received at the home.

He described what happened as a “tragic accident” and said the carers who were moving Mrs Cracknell weren’t too blame.

Julia Kendrick, for Chilton Care Homes said the company was passionate about providing the best possible care but accepted there had been some shortcomings.

“Steps were taken voluntarily to resolve issues and turn the home around quickly to make sure these matters were addressed,” she said.

She said the company had no previous convictions and the offences weren’t the result of cost cutting at the expense of safety.