A NURSE has been cautioned after a 72-year-old patient with severe mobility problems fell and broke both legs while in her care.

Nurse Pauline Wallace was helping the Brierfield pensioner on to a stand aid when a strap came loose and she fell, the Nursing and Midwifery Council was told.

The elderly woman, referred to only as patient A, suffered from progressive muscular atrophy and required round-the-clock care, which was provided by Allied Healthcare on behalf of NHS East Lancashire.

Mrs Wallace and healthcare assistant Zahida Parveen, immediately after the fall, lowered the patient to the floor and then helped her into a chair, an NMC fitness to practice panel heard.

Paramedics, who were called to the scene later, told the patient’s husband that she should not have been moved, the panel was told.

Her counsel, Gavin Irwin, admitted four charges on her behalf, relating to the stand aid, moving the patient before assessing her injuries, not immediately calling paramedics and not accompanying Patient A to the hospital.

Mr Irwin said that there was a charged atmosphere in the home after the fall, centering on the patient’s husband, which may have affected his client’s response to the woman’s medical position.

Following a three-day hearing, the panel ruled that, as it was an isolated incident in an ‘unblemished’ 12-year career, Mrs Wallace should only be cautioned.

Panel chairman Sara Nathan said: “Mrs Wallace has shown some insight. She had admitted her failings from the outset and engaged with the regulatory process.

The incident which caused injury to Patient A was not a deliberate act. Mrs Wallace has not sought to blame others or evade responsibility.”

The nurse was given an 18-month caution order and Mrs Wallace has 28 days in which to lodge any appeal.

An internal disciplinary hearing was held, after the fall, and Mrs Wallace was dismissed by Allied Healthcare, on the grounds she had breached health and safety regulations.