The moving and positioning of patients’ needs to be carefully undertaken by fully trained staff. The same goes for the use of any physical interventions. The principle of best interests is something we reiterate across our courses, including our Moving and Handling Theory Course, our Challenging behaviour training courses and our Physical intervention training sessions. We also always draw attention to the fact that every time a physical intervention or physical restraint technique is applied the amount of force employed must always be the minimum, for the minimum amount of time. Service users are often highly vulnerable individuals and all processes involving physical contact and the application of any use of force used, whether to facilitate or to restrict movement or mobility, must be fully risk assessed. There are potentially serious consequences for getting this judgement wrong as a recent case has shown.

unsafe handling proceduresThe families of two men who suffered broken legs in a Sussex care home have asked for the cases to be included in an ongoing police investigation. Police are currently investigating nine Sussex Health Care homes amid claims 43 people were neglected - of whom 12 have died.

Matthew Bates and Gary Lewis suffered fractured thighs at Beech Lodge in 2015 but their cases are not part of the current probe, their families said.

Sussex Health Care said both cases were investigated by the council and police. It said it had "co-operated fully with those investigations" in 2015.

Mr Lewis, who was 64 at the time, and Mr Bates, who was then 30, both have cerebral palsy and limited communication. Mr Lewis also has osteoporosis.

Their families told the BBC's Today programme both men were taken to hospital on the same day and an A&E doctor triggered a safeguarding alert.

Mr Lewis had a complete split of his left femur and Mr Bates suffered a severe mid-shaft fracture to his right thigh at the home in Horsham.

Mr Bates's father, Mark Bates, said: "Something had gone desperately wrong in that care home."

Mr Lewis's brother, Martyn Lewis, said: "That this can happen once and then twice in such a short space of time seems to indicate there is something systemically wrong with the care being offered in that facility. We need to know what happened…"

Following the injuries, a safeguarding inquiry by West Sussex County Council criticised the company and concluded the men's "fractured legs were likely to have been caused when [they] were rolled or turned".

Three orthopaedic consultants told the BBC the situation warranted serious investigation and Mr Bates's injury, despite the impact of cerebral palsy on his bones, was a particular worry. Two of the specialists said "rough" or "poor" hoisting could explain the injuries. The men's fractures were mended with metal plates and screws, and neither returned to Beech Lodge.

A Sussex Health Care statement said Beech Lodge "supports people with complex needs, including physical conditions such as osteoporosis, which can make bones very brittle. Both cases were subject to comprehensive safeguarding investigations at the time, involving the county and the police. We co-operated fully with those investigations, which found no evidence of poor handling or any other wrongdoing."

SecuriCares Risk Manager Lee Hollins says that we should take this case as a warning, “You’ve only got to look at the typical health profiles of adults with learning disabilities being admitted to residential settings and challenging behaviour units, and those of older adults being admitted to elderly care services. There are all manner of issues with various tissues, organs and systems including bone density, ligament laxity, strength, balance and proprioception, as well as problem solving and the ability to communication effectively. Any plan to physically ‘intervene’ in any way must be supported by risk assessments covering the individual as well as the intervention. Without this type of risk management process people run the risk of being needlessly injured..”

SecuriCare offer a range of courses designed to enable support workers, carers and foster families to best respond to any ‘Challenging Behaviour’ that may occur. All programmes are finalised after full training needs analysis and delivered by experienced frontline practitioners. Click to see our ‘Preventing & Managing Challenging Behaviour’ Course which includes ‘Positive Behaviour Management’ techniques designed to minimise the need for any kind of restrictive intervention. Check out our ‘Physical Intervention’ courses and our online ‘Restraint Risks’ course. You can also take a look at our person centred Safe Holding Planning Service.

Contact us for more information and to discuss your needs: E: or T: 01904 492442

Read the full story on BBC News