A Southampton care home has been told it requires improvement after health inspectors found it did not “properly assess the risk” of a possible legionella outbreak.
Landlords and care home owners, have a duty to carry out Legionella risk assessments on their water systems to prevent infiltration of Legionella.
With many elderly residents suffering from various ailments they are especially vulnerable to Legionnaires’ disease.
Care homes are often converted from old structures like hotels. Bedrooms are added and the old water system is modified resulting in redundant pipes and live deadlegs.
This puts care homes at a medium- to high-level risk with regards to Legionella vulnerability.
Legionella is known to cause the pneumonia-type illness Legionnaires’ disease and a mild flu-like illness called Pontiac fever.
People can get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever by inhaling droplets of water in the air containing the bacteria. Less commonly, by aspiration of drinking water containing Legionella (when water accidently goes into the lungs while drinking).
In the UK, all Care Homes are required to have a written scheme together with a legionella risk assessment for controlling identified risks in accordance with the Health & Safety Executives Approved Code of Practice and Guidance document ACOP L8.
Legionella and Fire Safe are able to offer expert advice on Legionella testing, risk assessment and control, including compliance with ACOP L8 – the Approved Code of Practice L8 2013 – The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems.
Failure to comply puts people’s health at risk and if an issue did occur, this failure could be used in criminal proceedings as evidence of a company’s negligence.
For more information