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An example of continual risk assessing – fatal stabbing at care home

A county NHS Trust and the owner of a former care home have been found guilty of safety failings following the fatal stabbing of a care worker at a private residential care home in the south of England.

The care worker, a lady aged 55, was attacked her with a knife from a kitchen by a resident of the home who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The staff had no expertise or training for dealing with people with this disorder, or for managing violent or aggressive behaviour.

After the hearing, the HSE Inspector involved in the case said: “This was a tragic incident that left a family without a wife, mother and grandmother. No-one expects to go to work and never return home”….”Care homes have a duty not only to protect the safety of their residents but their staff as well…. The NHS Trust failed to adequately assess the risks that were posed to staff”…

Sentencing has not yet taken place in respect of this prosecution.

The point of using this case study here is to illustrate that the systems for assessments of risk of safety and health issues is a minute-to-minute one – irrespective of circumstances. That does not mean masses of administration but it does mean being alert to changing situations, reacting to them and devising/implementing and continually re-assessing systems, plans, training and competence.

Perhaps you have your own example of how you have undertaken short-notice risk assessments and have changed practices or policies with great effect?