Watchdog highlights multiple failures at care home

Date: Monday 1st October 2018

INSPECTORS called in to investigate allegations of abuse at a Kirkby Stephen care home found several breaches of regulations.

Stobars Hall has been found by the Care Quality Commission, the health watchdog, to require improvement in all areas.

Inspectors found failures to check staff criminal records, a lack of training and supervision, failure to respect people’s wishes about their daily routine and make decisions about their care, and a lack of meaningful activities.

One member of staff worked at the home for several months before a criminal records check was carried out, relying on a historic report from a previous employer instead. Training in dementia care had not been provided to any of the existing staff members, despite the home offering specialist dementia care, and one staff member’s file showed they had not had any individual supervision sessions for five-and-a-half years, up to January, 2018.

There was also a lack of knowledge among staff about the existence of a whistleblowing policy.

During their visits, inspectors said residents had been woken by 6am, the front door was left open, allowing people to come and go as they pleased, and capacity assessments had not been carried out to see if people with dementia were able to consent to restrictive equipment such as bed guards. The home was also not designed or adapted to support people with dementia care needs in line with nationally recognised good practice.

The report said: “All doors along the corridor were the same brown wood for bedrooms, store cupboards and bathrooms. Although some bedroom doors displayed a photograph of the occupant, it would be difficult for some people with cognitive decline to distinguish between the different rooms. There was a television lounge where people living on this unit sat during the day. But there were no items of sensory interest for people living with dementia, such a rummage boxes or fiddle mitts.”

The home had also removed activities staff from their posts and residents felt there were not many activities to keep them occupied.

The report said: “During one day of the inspection we saw a small number of people seated in a lounge watching television without any interaction with staff or each other, or alone in their own rooms.

“On the other day some people were seated in a lounge together waiting for an entertainer but they did not arrive. We saw an activities planner in the hallway but this described little in the way of engaging events. For example, activities included having nails cut or hair washed.”

Despite the failings, there was praise for the food provided, medication was managed correctly, people regularly attended medical appointments and residents described specific members of staff as “lovely” and “friendly”.

However, one person said staff usually left them in a wheelchair when they were in the lounge or dining room “because it’s easier” and another said they sometimes felt staff thought they were doing them a favour when they helped them.

A spokesman for the home, which is run by the Franklyn Group, said: “We were disappointed by the outcomes of the CQC report, as they do not meet our expected standards. However, we welcome the feedback and have already implemented wide-ranging changes to address the points raised.

“We have appointed a new manager who has started working with the home to ensure all staff receive regular supervisions, and that daily routines for residents are people-centred. In addition, we are working closely with external professionals who are already giving positive feedback about the improvements.

“We are confident that at our next inspection the CQC will be satisfied with our progress, and that we will not only return to the ‘good’ rating we have maintained in the past but fully intend to turn Stobars Hall into an outstanding care facility.”