Elderly and vulnerable people are being left at ‘serious risk of harm’ in care and residential homes which have been found to be failing in every aspect of their work.
That is the view of Hudgell Solicitors, following inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which have resulted in homes being placed in ‘special measures’ and facing the threat of closure should they not improve.
Reports into inspections are available on the CQC website and show that more than 250 care and residential homes across England have been classed as ‘inadequate’ – the lowest standard of care rating – by the independent regulator of health and social care in England.
Of these, 14 facilities on which reports were published over the past 12 months were given the lowest possible ratings in all five areas of review under the CQC’s traffic light based scoring system – making them the worst performing in England.
It means they have scored the lowest possible ratings in safety and effectiveness, and whether they are caring, responsive and well-led.
Inspections have revealed shocking standards of care including missed medication, untrained staff, poor nutrition and residents being left as long as seven weeks without a bath or shower.
The findings have also revealed rapid weight loss in some homes, found residents left exposed to the risk of injury through abuse, falls, and choking due to lack of supervision and assistance at meals.
Solicitor Sarah Scully, who represents those who suffer as a result of neglect and abuse in care, today labelled the findings as ‘saddening and shocking’.
Some homes have been exposed for failing to carry out the checks they are required to by law before employing staff in demanding care roles, and having employees identified as being untrained to manage residents and their specific needs.
Homes were also criticised for depriving residents of their privacy and dignity, and for not following end of life care plans specified by residents and their families.
CQC care home reports ‘paint a frightening picture’
Hudgell Solicitors is spearheading the ‘Give Me Dignity’ campaign, which aims to highlight and expose neglectful care and calls for the elderly and vulnerable to be loved, protected, respected and afforded their dignity in all forms of healthcare.
Our research into CQC reports over the past 12 months made front page headlines in the Daily Mirror, and was also highlighted in The Sun and Daily Express, naming the 14 homes with inadequate ratings.
Mrs Scully said: “Some of the failings highlighted by CQC inspectors at these care and residential homes are appalling. They paint a frightening picture of what happens in poorly managed and run care facilities.
“People are leaving their loved ones in care homes where medication is not being given as prescribed or recorded accurately, people at being left at risk of choking as they are not being served the right food and drink and are not being supported, action is not being taken to prevent falls and injuries and incidents of abuse between residents are not being investigated and prevented.
“Poor and neglectful care, combined with staff carrying out care roles they have not had specific training for, is a recipe for disaster. These residents are being placed at risk, it is as simple as that.
“Sadly, we see so many families who place their loved ones in care in good faith and are left heartbroken with the poor standard of care they receive. It ends up being a decision that haunts them, as they feel responsible of the suffering they go through.
“Interestingly, there are many positive comments from families in the CQC reports, yet inspectors have placed them in special measures and warned of possible closures.
“It is why we launched our ‘Give Me Dignity’ campaign. We want to see families understand more about care standards and poor and neglectful care challenged at all times. We believe it is possibly the most harrowing and heartbreaking repeated failures of the health system.
“These are people who have lived rich and fulfilled lives and contributed so much to society. Things have to change.”
Own websites refer to ‘dedicated and caring’ facilities, despite CQC findings
Despite the inspectors’ findings, some homes have websites boasting about their passion to provide the best service to residents, dedicated and highly trained staff and the pleasant environment.
They are all required to display their latest CQC report clearly on their websites, although a number of providers do not have sites available, or the reviews are not easy to spot, something Mrs Scully says should be a ‘red flag’ to anyone researching potential care homes for loved ones.
“We know it can be a daunting task for relatives, but whilst there are many poor performing homes, there are also thousands performing well and providing excellent care. With the right research, a good choice can be made,” she said.
“Our message is that good care home has nothing to hide, so we advise people to look to see firstly if it has its own website, as the CQC report should be clearly displayed on there. If there is no website, or the report is not clearly visible, that could be a cause for concern.
“We’d always suggest searching for the report on the CQC website itself, as they are very detailed and cover every aspect of care.
“The CQC reports have been the source of this list of the worst performing homes being produced, so it as an example of how people can easily research their performance.
“We hope it firstly raises awareness that vital information to help inform decisions is out there and easily accessible, and secondly that the people running these facilities act quickly to improve matters and put things right following the findings which have been published by the CQC.”
About the ‘Give Me Dignity’ campaign
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.