Hudgell Solicitors welcomes the threat of intervention from an independent watchdog at a West Yorkshire care home found to be failing to protect the dignity and privacy of its residents.
The Riverside Court Care Home, in Knottingley, Wakefield, has been rated as ‘inadequate’ in all areas of care provided by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England.
It follows two unannounced inspections in April of this year, and after previously being found to be in breach of six regulations when inspected in March 2017.
In its latest report published this month, CQC inspectors were particularly critical of the home’s failure to protect the dignity and privacy of residents, saying it was ‘not respected or promoted within the home.’
The findings come as Hudgell Solicitors is campaigns for improvements across the healthcare sector for the elderly and vulnerable, and in particular ensuring they are cared for with dignity at all times.
In its report on the Riverside Court Care Home, which is operated by Speciality Care (UK Lease Homes) Limited, the CQC has given the home the lowest rating of ‘inadequate’ in all areas of assessment.
It says it ‘found serious concerns within the home’, including;
- People’s oral care being neglected
- Residents left with no access to water and no drinks or snacks served throughout an entire morning, despite requests being made
- Hand hygiene not being promoted, leaving many people with dirty nails
- Residents left in their rooms all day with nothing to provide entertainment or stimulation
- Dignity of residents not being promoted as they were left unshaven, without their hair combed, and several wearing stained clothing
- A man left walking around with his trousers falling down and his buttocks and incontinence pad clearly visible. Despite staff coming in and out of the room, none attended to him
- Little, or no, interaction – and ‘no evidence’ of staff making any attempt at one-to-one interactions with people in their rooms.
Leeds based solicitor Paul Cain, who has successfully led legal action against care homes on behalf of families for failing their relatives, says the CQC’s findings are ‘completely unacceptable’ and highlight why the firm has launched its ‘Give Me Dignity’ campaign.
He said: “This recently published inspection report is a clear example of a care home not providing the most basic levels of care, it is completely unacceptable and inexcusable and quite rightly the CQC is now talking about enforcement action.
“It makes for very sad reading, particularly for anybody who has loved ones in this care home. Inspectors have highlighted occasions of residents being left without food and drink, left isolated in their rooms for long hours, sat in chairs staring at corridors and staff making little attempt to make them feel cared for.
“Other issues could have serious consequences, such as inconsistent staff presence in the dining room, leaving some struggling to eat and not supported to eat their meals appropriately. This can be extremely dangerous and neglectful.
“It is also really concerning to see inspectors highlighting oral care being neglected as we have acted for families in cases where this has led to substantial pain and suffering over long periods of time, including widespread loss of teeth and infection.
“Quite clearly at present the residents are clearly not being well cared for, with inspectors even saying some staff ignore people in distress. A care home should be a place which gives people the best quality of life and that is not the case here.
“We welcome the warning from the CQC as it is clear that this home has not heeded previous warnings from more the 12 months ago. This is a situation which cannot be allowed to continue.”
Staffing issues were also highlighted in the report, saying there were ‘not sufficient to ensure people had a good quality of life’.
Inspectors also highlighted a lack of continuity of staffing, meaning people did not know who was supporting them each day. It said some agency staff displayed little knowledge of how to support people safely or effectively.
Some staff were considered ‘uncaring and very task driven’. It said that in one person’s room family photographs were found in the bottom of their bedside cupboard with toiletries stored on top of them, something inspectors said ‘demonstrated a lack of regard and respect for people’s belongings’.
In its report, the CQC said the home is now considered to be in ‘special measures’ and could face enforcement action.
It said: “This service will continue to be kept under review and, if needed, could be escalated to urgent enforcement action should ‘significant improvements’ not be made within six months.
“Where necessary, another inspection will be conducted within a further six months, and if there is not enough improvement so there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall, we will take action to prevent the provider from operating this service. This will lead to cancelling their registration or to varying the terms of their registration.”
The full inspection report can be found here: https://www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-132409253/inspection-summary#overall
The CQC has a wide set of powers to enable it to protect the public and hold registered providers and managers to account. This includes the power to remove the registrations of homes, preventing them from continuing to provide care.
Give Me Dignity campaign urges families to challenge poor care
As part of its ‘Give Me Dignity’ campaign, Hudgell Solicitors has pledged to highlight and challenge poor and neglectful care of the elderly by;
- Highlighting cases in which appalling and avoidable healthcare failings are made which deny the elderly their dignity, at times when they are at their most vulnerable.
- Encouraging and advising families to question and, if needed, challenge the care their loved ones receive in hospitals and care homes.
- Providing advice and guidance for relatives on how best to look out for their loved ones when taken into hospital or care home environments,
- Supporting families by righting wrongs and challenging poor care, neglect and abuse through its legal expertise.