The company fined £1.5 million after a resident at a Mansfield care home fell down a flight of stairs and later died has issued an apology to his family.
Embrace All Ltd, which runs Rose Court Lodge on Sutton Road, admitted responsibility for the death of 76-year-old dementia sufferer George Chicken in 2012.
The manager at the time, 50-year-old Amanda Dean, was also handed a nine-month suspended prison sentence during the hearing at Nottingham Crown Court today.
The company had pleaded guilty to failing to ensure residents were not exposed to risks to health and safety, while Dean of Ambergate, Derbyshire, pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care of persons affected by her work.
Both the company and Dean had initially denied any wrongdoing but changed their pleas just days into a three-week trial in July brought against them by Mansfield District Council.
And following today sentencing, Embrace’s chief executive Patricia Lee, issued a statement.
She said: “I want to apologise wholeheartedly to Mr Chicken’s family, on behalf of all at Embrace, for the health and safety failings that contributed to this tragic accident.
“We have worked exceptionally hard to do all we can to address the issues raised in this case, and have implemented a comprehensive risk assessment programme throughout the organisation.
“The judge acknowledged that Embrace is a company of good character and he also noted that lessons have been learnt since the tragic events of 2012. Four years on we continue to build upon on the progress made.
“Our number one priority is always the health, safety and wellbeing of the residents we support. Everything we do is based on providing residents with the highest quality of care and the most fulfilled lives possible.”
The court was told how the care home had failed to reach adequate levels of safety to protect residents and previous incidents of dementia sufferers injuring themselves were highlighted. The fire door which Mr Chicken accessed was also found to be easily opened.
On the night of the tragedy, Mr Chicken had wandered out of his room, managed to evade staff, accessed a fire exit that was unlit and fell down 15 concrete steps.
He died in hospital two days later.
Only three members of staff were on duty and none had been on the first floor where Mr Chicken, who had a habit of wandering because of his dementia, had been sleeping.
Sentencing them at Nottingham Crown Court, Judge Stuart Rafferty said Mr Chicken’s death was “wholly preventable”.
He added: “The company failed to put in measures recognised as standard in this industry, particularly a key pad to the fire door.
“I set the culpability of the company as high. Anyone who went on that staircase was at risk of falling and suffering injury or death. It was a wholly unsafe and dangerous fire exit.”
Referring to Amanda Dean, he added: “She is someone who has spent a lifetime in nursing and her care for patients is not in question in this case.
“She was out of her depth when it came to the management of the care home.”