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Northolt care agency criticised by coronor over death of elderly client

A care agency in Northolt, which the Care Quality Commission in 2021 said “requires improvement” has been criticised for the death of an elderly woman who fell and hit her head when an “inexperienced” carer left her unattended.

On its website, Lean On Me says: “We aim to provide a Domiciliary Care service which focuses on a holistic partnership relationship that involves the services users in their personal care programme”.

In her coroner’s report, Lydia Brown wrote of the death of Gunapathyammah Ranganathan in 2021. “On 11th July she was attended by a new, inexperienced carer who had insufficient training and shadowing to enable her to support Mrs Ranganathan safely during the morning care visit.

“While walking with her zimmer frame to the bathroom she was unattended and lost her balance, fell backwards and hit her head. She sustained a severe head injury that was unsurvivable and she died in St Mary’s Hospital on 14 July 2021. Had she been assisted in an appropriate way, it is probable that the fall could have been avoided.”

The coroner raised further concerns and said: “During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern. In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken.

There was little evidence before the court that the new carer had received any or any adequate training or shadowing experience. The new carer could not be deemed to be competent at mobilising a service user with a zimmer frame as there was no evidence that she had done so.

Lean on Me care agency was said to not currently be trading, but the company and web site remain live and therefore could recommence work in the care sector. The court requires confirmation of training schedules and policies, together with shadowing policies for new carers with no previous experience or training and confirmation that steps have been taken to avoid the situation that arose in this case, when a service user who should have been under direct supervision at all times when mobilising was unattended, and sustained a fatal head injury when she fell.”

The coroner has given Lean on Me until 8 May 2023 to respond to the findings.

EALING.NEWS contacted Lean on Me for a comment.

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