A vulnerable Blackpool woman was left “screaming in pain” with serious burns on her leg after carers left her too close to a hot radiator, an investigation has concluded.
The unnamed woman, who had suffered a stroke, was being looked after in her home by carers commissioned by the council from I Care (GB) Limited, based in Kincraig Road, the authority said, and had limited feeling in her right side and difficulty talking.
After the incident, during which she was left on a commode in her bathroom, the woman suffered several burns that were up to 12cm long and 2cm wide – but it took carers almost three hours to realise she needed urgent medical attention, a report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) said.
The woman received hospital treatment but her wounds became infected. She is now living in a care home.
A series of failings were noted in the report, which also accused the agency workers of “failing to provide an accurate account of what happened”, with case records given to the investigation called “misleading”.
The LGO also said there was a delay in the council’s investigation, blamed on staff illness, and ordered it to pay the woman £5,000, and her daughter £500.
Michael King from the LGO said: “This distressing case serves to reinforce the need for carers to undertake thorough assessments of the care environment and the risks they may pose, and the actions they need to talk to mitigate those risks.”
The council continues to work with the care firm involved, and health boss Coun Amy Cross said: “Anyone receiving care in their home should have total confidence they are going to be looked after in a safe and caring way.
“There are more than a thousand Blackpool residents receiving care in their home every week and thankfully incidents like this rarely happen.
“I was horrified when I saw the picture of the injury this lady suffered. On behalf of the council I unreservedly apologise for the distress that she and her family have experienced. It is not acceptable and it should not have happened.
“We have worked very closely with the company delivering this care and all our other providers to ensure risks such as this are better managed.”
The incident happened in October 2017, the report said, with an investigation opened after a referral from hospital staff.
Nobody from I Care (GB) could be reached for a comment.