Managing Legionella Risk in Care Homes

Care home operators have a duty of care to ensure that their vulnerable residents are housed in a clean environment, protected from the risk of infection. This includes legionella within care homes. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have recently cracked down on three care homes in England that have been negligent regarding their responsibility to keep their residents safe.

This article is part of the Water Hygiene Newsletter.

Elderly people have increased vulnerability to Legionnaires’ disease.

Legionella In Care Homes

A care home in Stroud was inspected by the CQC on 3rd November 2021 and was told that it “must improve.” Importantly, improper management of legionella risks was identified as an area of concern. Whilst the home can continue operating, this does not reflect well upon their reputation as a care provider.

Another care home in Rochdale was placed in special measures in January of 2022 after an unannounced inspection found their service to be “inadequate.” Issues cited by the CQC include staff training, environment, recruitment and leadership. Just as in the case of the home in Stroud, improper management of legionella risk was listed as an area of concern at the home in Rochdale.

Learn more about legionella with one of our City and Guilds Assured training courses.

Because the home in Rochdale was deemed to be “inadequate,” if it fails to improve when it is re-inspected in six months’ time, it may meet the same fate as a third care home in Bolton. The home in Bolton received an “inadequate” rating in mid-2021, and was closed on 15th February 2022, partially due to legionella concerns. This led to the relocation of 19 residents.

It is extremely important that the CQC keeps a close eye on legionella compliance in care environments, as negligence regarding legionella control has previously led to the avoidable death of vulnerable care home residents. In late 2020, a care home operator was ordered to pay £167,760 at West Hampshire Magistrates’ Court after the death of a 56-year-old resident in their care.

For more information, please visit the CQC website.

If you are unsure as to the compliance status of your legionella control regime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. It’s our mission to ensure you have the support and guidance that you need to maintain compliance and ensure the wellbeing of your vulnerable residents.

If your need help with legionella compliance anywhere in the UK, please reach out to us.