Many care providers support people who sometimes act in unpredictable ways which can put themselves and others at risk of harm. Last week, two separate murder investigations were launched after two residents died at different care centres, seemingly after assaults by other residents.
In the first case, a 60-year-old care home resident died following an assault by a fellow resident, who has since been charged with murder. A post-mortem was carried out on Wednesday which found that the cause of death was compression to the neck.
The second incident took place in a unit that provides services for people who require inpatient support and care for mental health problems. A resident was found with head injuries and was later pronounced dead at the scene. Another resident of the same unit was later charged with his murder.
Cases like these are always shocking. Whilst it is not always possible to anticipate every incident in advance, especially in cases of such extremes, it is important that providers assess and mitigate these risks as far as possible.
This will include carrying out risk assessments and ensuring that any measures identified are put into practice and recorded. Careful thought should be given to staffing levels in light of any risks identified, how that is communicated across the service and any specific training that staff may need to support individuals who display behaviour that may put themselves and others at risk of harm.
In our latest prosecutions update, we noted that there had been a number of prosecutions from both the Care Quality Commission and the Health and Safety Executive which followed physical assaults of residents by other residents or by residents upon staff and where the care provider was found not to have taken sufficient action to address the risks.
When an incident does happen, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.