Late night spot check at care home finds service users walking around while staff slept

Written by Kevin Murphy
19 July, 2023
Service user walking around care home at night

In this case study, employment lawyer Kevin Murphy looks at a client case where a care home manager found staff asleep as service users wandered around the building at 4am


Overview and Background

The care home manager attended the site to carry out a night spot check. She entered the site to find service users milling around at 4am. Upon investigation, the staff were all asleep in the main lounge, with their shoes off, feet up and covered in blankets. The manager took care of the service users immediately, the staff then woke up by their alarm some 45 minutes later, surprised to see their manager.

Client concerns and aims

The client was concerned that the staff had been asleep on shift, had not cared for the service users or been in a position to protect them from risk, for example falls when walking. The manager also found that the hourly checks had not been completed for several hours suggesting the staff had been asleep for some time. The manager was keen to remove the staff from the business due to the risk that they caused.

What we did

We asked the care home manager for the evidence and information in relation to the staff.  On this occasion we were able to assist without attending site as the manager could provide:

– statement of what happened on the night she arrived at the home; copies of the hourly checks; photos of staff asleep.

We put all the evidence together into a bundle of documents and added the disciplinary policy.

We advised that staff with less two years service could be dismissed without any process (if the client wanted to do so) but those with over two years service needed to be invited to a disciplinary hearing.  We provided invitation to disciplinary hearing letters and guidance on what to ask in the disciplinary by examining the bundle of evidence with the employee.


Outcome and benefits

All staff were dismissed at the client’s request.  We saved management time and wages by dismissed those with less than 2 years service immediately.  We then assisted the client in assessing it’s recruitment and induction processes to avoid the same issues arising in the future.

HR help and advice for your care home group

If you are in the care sector or have carers carrying out home visits and want to ensure you have the right HR support please get in touch with the team who can carry out a free HR review and advice you on your HR headaches.

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