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Carer rapped for taking days to report pensioner's fall

The injured resident suffered fractured leg bones in the accident at an Edinburgh care home.

Reprimanded: Sweetie Atienza failed to instantly report the accident.
Reprimanded: Sweetie Atienza failed to instantly report the accident. Pixabay

A senior care home worker has been reprimanded for failing to instantly report an accident in which a resident suffered fractured leg bones.

Sweetie Atienza, along with another colleague, moved the injured pensioner after the their fall without checking for signs of a fracture or potential spinal injury, and then took two days to report the incident.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) reported that Atienza's failure to follow her employer's post-falls protocol resulted in the resident suffering prolonged pain and placed them at risk of further harm given that staff would have continued to administer care without the knowledge that the woman's tibia and fibula were fractured.

The accident happened at a care home in Edinburgh in May 2017.

After being dismissed from the organisation, Atienza applied for a job at another nursing home the following month but failed to disclose why she was fired.

The SSSC found her behaviour dishonest and concluded that her fitness to practise was impaired.

Atienza admitted her misconduct, but blamed her colleague for failing to report the fall.

The SSSC accepted that another worker was present, but noted that Atienza was the senior member of staff. They also highlighted that Atienza discovered the day after the incident that it still hadn't been reported, but then took a further day to report the fall to a nurse.

Within the SSSC's published report, they stated: "You have stated that it was a busy shift and you panicked and this is why the fall was not reported immediately. Your colleague confirms that the shift was busy.

"This is not a justifiable explanation for failing to report the fall and it doesn't explain why you failed to report the fall the following day when you were made aware that your colleague had not reported this.

"Your behaviour demonstrates a serious lack of judgement."

The SSSC accepted that Atienza's actions were not carried out with the intention of causing harm.

The board also noted that she has continued to work in the care sector following the incident with no repeat behaviour or concerns regarding her current practice.

In punishment, the SSSC placed a warning on Atienza's registration for the next two years - which came into effect on Friday.

She will also have to undergo training and write a reflective account as to what she has learned from the incident.

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