Helensburgh care home fined after resident dies in bed gap accident

Dumbarton Sheriff Court Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard Mrs Black had regularly fallen out of bed before her death

A care home has been fined £8,000 after the death of an elderly resident who became trapped between her mattress and a bed rail.

Marjory Black, 85, had previously fallen out of her bed at Cairndhu House nursing home in Helensburgh, Argyll.

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard a smaller air mattress was put on her bed but it left a gap which she slipped into.

Owners Carol-Anne Care Homes Ltd admitted failings in connection with staff training and risk assessment.

The couple listed as directors, Francis and Anne Curran, were not in court to hear the outcome.

Mrs Black was admitted to the home in January 2007 suffering from dementia and had limited mobility.

She later suffered kidney problems which required hospitalisation.

'Regularly checked'

On her return to the home, a care plan was implemented but nursing staff noticed Mrs Black was falling out of bed regularly.

Barriers were then fitted to her bed and the air mattress lowered.

The court heard Mrs Black had been regularly checked by staff during the night she died.

But at 07:10 on 18 July 2007, she was found unconscious in bed.

The left side of her face was buried in a pillow and her legs were dangling through the bed rail up to her waist. She was later pronounced dead.

The court heard the home closed in October 2011, but the company was still trading in the hope that it could reopen depending on the outcome of the court case.

Fining the company, Sheriff Simon Pender said he was satisfied that none of the failings identified was a cause of Mrs Black's death.

But the home was negligent in failing to carry out a proper risk assessment in relation to the use of rails in conjunction with the new lighter mattress, he said.

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