Birmingham & Black Country

Bupa Care Homes admits failings after resident's death

A care home in Birmingham has admitted failing to ensure the safety of its residents on the night a widow was strangled in a wheelchair accident.

Brigid O'Callaghan, 74, was found dead at Bupa-run Amberley Court Nursing Home in Edgbaston on 28 October 2005.

She had slipped from her chair causing the seatbelt to wrap around her neck after staff left her alone after she refused to be helped into bed.

No-one checked on her in the night, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Staff had experienced problems before with residents slipping from their wheelchairs and notices were pinned around the home warning about the dangers of such accidents, the court was told.

'Needed help'

No specific training had been given to staff about the potential risks of the seatbelts and the nurse and two care assistants had been "performing below par", the night she died, prosecutor Bernard Thorogood said.

"Having observed her in a wheelchair, they of course should have appreciated that she needed significant help," he added.

Mrs O'Callaghan, who was known as Vera, had been confused and had trouble communicating, the court heard.

Bupa Care Homes Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to ensure residents were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

It had previously pleaded guilty to the same charge in respect of other health and safety breaches at the home.

In mitigation the company said it had "a good record" and the failings were not endemic of the way it ran its business.

Sentencing was adjourned until Wednesday.

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