Care home residents were found to be “shivering” due to a lack of heating with some only bathed once a week, an inspection report has found.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said that staff morale was also at “rock bottom” and blamed a failure in management and staff shortages for the list of issues.
Dale Park Care Home in Southport was visited by inspectors in November 2021, with the home suffering from ‘inadequate’ leadership and deemed as requiring improvement, as reported by Lancs Live.
Among problems identified in the CQC report were accusations by a family member that some residents at the care home were only being bathed once a week due to staff shortages.
The report said that “people were seen to be shivering” by inspectors on a visit to the home due to a lack of heating, which was fixed after attention was drawn to it.
The inspectors also found that residents at the care home, many of whom have dementia, were being left unmonitored for long periods of time in a communal lounge area where they had no access to a call bell.
With low staffing levels and high numbers of agency staff being used at the home, the inspectors said: “Current attempts by the provider to rationalize care to mainly one floor had maintained some aspects of basic care such as ensuring nutritional needs and basic personal care, but the quality of care was compromised with a lack of positive social activity and some aspects of personal care such as bathing.”
Inspectors said they were also concerned about aspects of infection control, with the report stating: “We were not fully assured that the provider was preventing visitors from catching and spreading infections” although found evidence of hygiene practices at the home and regular cleaning.
Mealtimes were also identified as an area of concern. At the time of inspection the home was lacking a chef, and inspectors said that the mealtime process for residents was more institutional than sociable, with staff moving from one resident to the next rather than spending time with individuals.
There were also concerns expressed about the environment and upkeep of the home with no current maintenance person in place and the design of the home “adapted to meet the staffing shortages rather than the needs of people living with dementia.”
Inspectors said: “This had contributed to more institutional care and feel to the home.”
With multiple management changes, and a “lack of consistent leadership” in place inspectors found the management of the home was inadequate and all other areas inspected require improvement.
The care watchdog also issued the home with two actions in respect of breaches of Health and Social Care Act regulations.
A spokesperson for Dale Park and HC-One Ltd apologized for the failures at the home and said that with a new management team in place, steps were being taken to make “urgent improvements.”
The spokesperson said: “Our top priority is to deliver high quality, kind care for each of our residents, and we take all feedback from the regulator seriously.
“We know that on this occasion we fell short of the high standards of care our Residents and their loved ones rightfully expect and deserve, and we apologize for this.
“We have been working exceptionally hard to make urgent improvements at the home, with our Senior Regional Team on-site to oversee this.
“We recruited a new Home Manager in December 2021, and have improved staffing levels to increase the time Colleagues have to spend with Residents, including a new Deputy Home Manager, Nurse, Chef and four new Care Assistants.
“We are working closely with the Local Authority, our local Health and Care Partnership, and the CQC, to embed positive changes at the home, and we will continue to monitor the quality of care using our own internal assessments. We know there is still work to do to put things right, but everyone is determined to make and maintain the necessary improvements.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.