Monday 19 November 2012

Care Home Investigation

Just over a week ago RBC received the autopsy results of a 95 year old who had been recovering from a stroke in a council care home.  As reported by the local media he contracted pneumonia and died from Legionnaires’ disease.  I pass on my condolences to his relatives and friends.

The Willows primarily is a dementia care home so most residents are elderly and particularly vulnerable.  It also provides intermediate care for residents needing a short stay before or after hospital. 
In my new role as Conservative strategic lead spokesman for Housing, Health, Community Care, Education & Children’s Services I asked for a briefing to ensure RBC was doing everything it should be to investigate this case, and to safeguard the wellbeing of the other residents in RBC’s care.  The following is, to the best of my recollection, what I was told.
An independent consultant was brought in on 10 November to investigate.  Some, though not all, tests at The Willows (previously called Tanfield) Care Home were positive for the Legionella bacteria.  The basin in the 95-year-old’s room at The Willows tested positive, as did the shower head in a communal bathroom.  Measures have been put in place to eradicate the two traces of Legionella bacteria at The Willows and to prevent it coming back.  Further tests are being carried out to ensure these measures have been successful.

Health & Safety Executive representatives are meeting RBC officers this week.  The Head of Adult Social Care is preparing a report detailing the chronology – expected to take weeks.  Councillors, including myself, will be able to scrutinise the case at the Adult Safeguarding Board, the next planned meeting for which is 4 December (though it wasn’t clear last week when I received my briefing whether RBC’s report would be ready in time or if a separate meeting would need to be convened).
The Interim Director & Council Manager confirmed that RBC adheres to the Health & Safety Executive’s approved code of practice on Legionella, that all staff and residents have been spoken to and kept up-to-date.  Only one of the residents has taken up RBC’s offer of moving.
I await the outcome of the investigation.

Update:  The Adult Safeguarding Board meeting has been put back to 18th December.