The risks to staff who work in care homes for older people, whose residents sometimes have difficulty in controlling their behaviour and can become assaultive towards staff, have been highlighted in the news on numerous occasions.
Two cases in particular come to light, won by employees who sued for damages because of injuries sustained in their work caring for these vulnerable people in sometimes dangerous circumstances.
1) Concerns ignored about violent resident and safe caring
A grandmother who was forced to quit her career as a care worker after an attack by an aggressive patient, has been awarded a £12,500 out of court payout.
The UNISON member, identified as Mrs Hunt, was held in a headlock and punched by an elderly patient, Jack Tooby, in September 2005. The care home knew Mr Tooby had a history of violence, particularly towards women.
Concerns had also been raised by staff, but bosses refused to transfer him to a secure home or hospital. Mrs Hunt had worked at Swan House care home, in Winslow, Buckinghamshire since 2002, but had never been given any training in dealing with aggressive patients.
The 56-year-old had been alone in the home’s dementia unit, helping a patient go to the toilet, when Mr Tooby attacked her. She managed to reach the emergency alarm to call a colleague, but still suffered a trapped nerve and serious neck and shoulder problems.
2) Trauma prevents return to work after failure in Safe Caring
A care assistant has had to take medical retirement after being attacked by a resident at an old people’s home in Middlesbrough. The UNISON member, who was employed by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, has now received over £57,000 compensation after an eight year legal battle.
Her job was looking after elderly male residents with difficult backgrounds, including alcoholism and sexual offences. The worker, whose name has not been released, was hit and kicked repeatedly by the man as she tried to attend to him in his room.
She was unable to reach an alarm but eventually escaped into the dining room, during which time the attack continued. She suffered bruising and swelling to her legs and shoulder. But the care worker was so traumatised by the attack in 2002, she was unable to return to work and eventually accepted medical retirement.