A recent Regulation 28 Coroner’s Report to CQC has highlighted risks associated with the use of ‘fixed’ furniture in care home rooms. ‘Fixed’ furniture means cupboards, tables, chairs and so on that are fixed to the floor so that they cannot move.
Sadly, the resident of a care home died recently when they fell from their bed at night, trapping their head between their bed and some fixed furniture next to it. Becoming trapped was a significant contributor to their death.
Regulation 12 of the Regulated Activities Regulations requires that services are run in a safe way. A key requirement in doing so are assessments of risks to people’s safety, including in relation to premises and equipment. Providers will be familiar with this requirement and most are diligent in meeting it. Following this recent sad event, providers are reminded to include specific potential hazards relating to the use of fixed furniture in continuous assessments of environmental risks, in both care homes and care at home services.
Most fixed furniture is perfectly safe but may be positioned in such a way as to present avoidable hazards for some people in some circumstances.
The CQC have recommended that if you are a care provider and would like more information on risk assessment in care settings, this can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.