Sectors > Nursing and Care Homes
Nursing and Care Homes
The importance of Legionella control in Nursing & Care Homes is extremely high, largely due to increased vulnerability of residents together with sometimes extensive water systems. Prevention should definitely be the objective as an outbreak can be devastating to a Nursing or Care Home business, in some cases forced businesses to close down.
There are many factors that need to be considered to apportion a Risk Level to a Home. Here you will find useful information for the Nursing & Care Sector:
- The elderly and those with lowered immune systems, have a substantially increased risk of contracting Legionnaires disease.
- Residents who smoke or who suffer from an existing chronic disease such as Diabetes or Heart disease have an increased risk.
- Residents’ water outlets maybe used infrequently thus increasing the risk of bacteria proliferation.
- Properties may be left unoccupied for infrequent time periods.
- Many other Health & Safety compliances required within the sector, sometimes Legionella compliance is (wrongfully) deemed as the lesser important one.
- Legislation that protect staff & the public must be complied with by all Nursing & Care Homes. These being: Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 & Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
- Nursing & Care homes must adhere to guidance supplied by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) as laid out in the document now known as HSG274 Part 2. Previously this document was known as ACOP L8. There is also further Care sector specific information published by the HSE available here (HSG220).
- All nursing & care homes within the UK come under the Jurisdiction of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which is the independent regulator of all health & social services in England. It is an executive non departmental public body of the Department of Health. Established in 2009, they employ over 2,000 staff. The CQC will randomly inspect all registered Nursing & Care Homes, who also must pay a subscription.
- Employers must report any case of Legionnaires’ that may have been caught at work to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). The duty to do this follows on from a doctor notifying the employer.
Repercussions for Failures
- Risk of death.
- Huge Fines by the CQC and/or HSE.
- ‘Special Measures’ enforcement.
- Expensive Court Cases.
- Defamation and Bad Press.
Hutton Village Care Home
An 86 year-old man contracted and died from Legionnaires Disease in 2015, further investigation found the bacteria in his en-suite bathroom. The manager admitted that she had not completed training as she was ‘too busy’ with ‘sheer work load’. The home pleaded guilty to charges bought by the HSE on 27th September 2017, although BUPA have denied the same charges. A further outcome is expected in 2018 with the case now been heard at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Reading Borough Council
The Council was found guilty in Court of a flawed Legionella control scheme which ignored historical Legionella issues at the care home where an elderly, 95 year-old man contracted the disease and died in 2012, there were also a number of other failings. They were subsequently fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs.
Molescroft Nursing Home (Holdings) Limited
This North Yorkshire Care Home was fined £2,500 by the CQC for failure to notify them of a positive Legionella test result and also for failing to notify them of a change in management, February 2014.
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