A home care provider based in Hackney, East London, has come under fire following the death of a local man last summer.
A coroner’s report has concluded that Joseph O’Neill “would not have died when he did” if staff from Care Outlook had helped resolve a fault with his heating.
Mr O’Neill, 88, was attended by carers from the agency four times a day. He was offered respite care in a care home, but he refused this over fears that he would catch COVID-19.
An inquest heard that after the man refused the place at the care home, Care Outlook staff “did not do anything to resolve the fault with the heating”, so it remained on in the middle of a heatwave.
An engineer was called to fix his door hinge, but not his heating.
Inner North London Senior Coroner Mary Hassell said: “Mr O’Neill desperately needed a reduction in the temperature of his flat, first and foremost by the heating being fixed, but Care Outlook staff did not deal with this. He also needed immediate rehydration.
“When he was admitted to hospital, he was in deficit by about three litres. He was offered a drink by care staff at mealtimes, but he needed constant prompting and encouragement to drink enough. His deterioration was not recognised.”
Mr O’Neill developed bronchopneumonia, suffered heat stroke, then became dehydrated and died.
“If he had been properly hydrated and had been in an appropriately cool environment, he would not have died when he did,” Hassell said.
During the course of the inquest, evidence revealed matters “giving rise to concern”, Hassell said, adding that “there is risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken”.
A copy of the report has been sent to Hackney Council and the Care Quality Commission, which currently rates the Hackney branch of Care Outlook as ‘Good’ overall and ‘Requires Improvement’ for being ‘Well-led’.
Care Outlook is yet to respond to a request for comment.