Legionella in care homes still poses a public health risk
Water systems in care homes need better risk management as breakouts pose fatal to residents
Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and is normally contracted by inhaling tiny, airborne droplets containing the Legionella bacteria. Although everyone is susceptible to infection, care home residents are more likely to be particularly vulnerable to catching Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionnaires’ disease continues to pose a threat to public health in Essex as two cases involving Legionella outbreaks had to be resolved in court in 2018. The water systems in both a BUPA care home and a council run leisure centre failed to comply with the risk management laws associated with legionella.
The private healthcare group Bupa have been fined £3m in a court of law after an elderly man died of Legionnaire’s disease at one of its nursing homes. Samples taken from taps in the patient’s bathroom showed a high concentration of legionella bacteria. The investigation into the death revealed that care home administrators did little to address the problem despite being fully aware of the presences of Legionella within their hot and cold water systems.
Due to the constituted negligence of and lack of safety concerns for care home residents Bupa has been ordered to pay all fines and damages. While the company admitted that there were “safety and health breaches”, the managing director insisted that the case was an “isolated incident” and claimed that preventative measures have since been put in place to stop an outbreak from reoccurring.
Many care homes currently don’t have a risk assessment plan comprehensive enough to deal with Legionella bacteria, putting care homes at a medium- to high-level risk with regards to Legionella vulnerability.
We offer our compliance services to help building and facilities managers in schools, universities, care homes, shopping centres, medical centres, student accommodation and social housing. It is important that you follow and comply with HSE legislation to minimise the risk from legionella bacteria.
With over 30 years of experience, we help you to implement, manage and monitor your water systems in order to reduce the risk of legionnaire’s disease. Contact our engineers today to find out how we can help you.