Last month, it was revealed that a care home group was charged £680,000 after a resident fell from a window and suffered life-changing injuries.
The case was shocking. But what is even more shocking is the amount of similar cases which have occurred over the years due to care homes either not having window restrictors installed, not having the required standard of window restrictor installed or not carrying out regular checks to ensure they are in full working order.
And with neglect of care comes hefty payments. Just the nine care homes below paid an average of £217,711.
Here's just nine recent cases in a little more detail - as well as the costs that came with it.
Loft House Grange Care Home - paid £720,000
In February 2015, 85-year-old dementia sufferer Barbara Milfoy suffered life-changing injuries after she fell from a second-floor window in Loft House Grange Care Home.
Leicester City Council had given the care home 'specific instructions' over the inadequate window restraints they had in place. The care home paid a private contractor £690 to install restraints - however, no effort had been made to ensure the work was carried out to the specified level of standard.
The care home group was fined £680,000 with additional costs of £40,000.
Kelvedon House Care Home - paid £52,000
In April 2011, 81-year-old Alzheimer's sufferer Frank Blackford died after falling from a third-floor window in Kelvedon House Care Home.
The window which Mr Blackford fell out of had a window lock installed which prevented the window from opening more than 10cm, however, the lock was easily overridden by simply pressing a catch.
They were fined £3,500 with additional costs of £48,763.
Red Lodge Care Home - paid £78,000
In Novemeber 2011, 90-year-old dementia sufferer Dora Strickland died after falling from a window at Red Lodge Care Home.
The care home had window restrictors installed to restrict the window opening a maximum of 15cm - 5cm more than the HSE recommended 10cm. Residents were also provided with a key to open the restrictor on the window, defeating the purpose of the restrictors completely.
They were fined £50,000 with additional costs of £28,000.
Plas Rhosnesni Care Home - paid £109,000
In June 2008, 79-year-old dementia sufferer Stanley James Tilston died after falling from a window in Plas Rhosnesni Care Home.
The care home had window restrictors installed on the windows to prevent them from opening more than 10cm, however, these were not robust enough and Mr Tilston managed to use a coat hanger to overcome the restrictor.
They were fined £66,000 with additional costs of £43,200.
Coppice Lea Care Home - paid £464,000
In October 2013, an 81-year-old woman died after falling from a first-floor window in Coppice Lea Care Home.
The care home had window restrictors already installed on their windows, however, these were easily overridden, making them unfit for purpose.
The care home group was fined £450,000 with additional costs of £14,762.
Dell Field Care Home - paid £175,000
In December 2011, 72-year-old Yuk Kiu Lee died after falling from a first-floor window in Dell Field Care Home.
The window restrictors installed on the window had been disabled at the time of the incident, allowing the window to be freely open. It is thought that the window restrictor had been disabled in October when contractors had been brought in to carry out work on the room - meaning that no checks had been carried out by the care home since then to ensure the restrictors were in full working order.
They were fined £175,000.
St John's Residential Care Home - paid £29,500
In June 2008, 74-year-old Florence O'Connor died after falling from a first-floor window in St John's Residential Care Home.
The care home had been fitted with suitable restrictors, but due to poor management, they were not working correctly at the time of the fall. It is thought that the restrictors had been disconnected following recent repair work at the home, however, no checks were made to ensure they were reconnected afterwards.
They were fined £17,500 with additional costs of £12,000.
Hillcrest House Care Home - paid £135,900
In 2008, 89-year-old Alzheimer's suffered Reginald Gibbings died after falling from a window at Hillcrest House Care Home.
The care home had window restrictors installed to prevent the window being opened more than 10cm but the screws had not been tightened, allowing the window to open far.
They were fined £40,000 with additional costs of £95,963.
Brocastle Manor Care Home - paid £196,000
In November 2010, 92-year-old Olga Llewellyn died after falling from a first-floor window in Brocastle Manor Care Home.
The care home had window restrictors installed on all the windows, but they were not fit for purpose as they could be easily overridden, allowing the windows to open wide.
They were fined £96,000 with additional costs of £100,000.
Listed above are just nine cases. But there are many more.
All care homes have a responsibility to its residents and the families of the residents to maintain a certain standard of care.
HSE Legislation states that all care homes should have adequate window restrictors installed. In order for a window restrictor to be suitable for a care home, it must:
- Restrict the window to 10cm or less.
- Be suitably robust enough to withstand force or deliberate damage.
- Be tamper-proof.
It is also up to the care home provider to ensure that regular checks are carried out on all windows and restrictors to ensure that they are working correctly to prevent a fall.
All the falls listed above were preventable. All future falls from windows are preventable.
For specialist help and advice on window restrictors for care home environments, please contact our sales on +65 9699 1913 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.