An investigation held by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed that a nursing home based in Deeside, North Wales breached safety laws when an 88 year old female resident was lowered into a bath of scalding water causing nine per cent burns. She was taken to the burns unit at Whiston Hospital but later died due to complications of her injuries.
Mold Magistrates’ Court heard that the elderly lady was unable to walk and was lowered into a bath using a hoist device.
Nursing staff had not checked the temperature of the bath water beforehand despite being instructed to by management. The HSE reported that the management had failed to ensure appropriate checks were being made.
Although mixing devices had been fitted to the baths they had not been maintained to control the temperature of the water.
Safety regulations require a Type 3 thermostatic mixing valve to be fitted to hot taps when bathing vulnerable people and these should be regularly maintained.
The nursing home which is now in liquidation was fined £5,000 for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The judge however stated that had the company not been in liquidation the fine would have exceeded £100,000.
For further information on safe bathing in care homes visit the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/healthservices/scalding-burning.htm