The Gazette can today reveal why dozens of elderly residents are being moved out of a Blackpool nursing home accused of failing to meet basic standards of care for “vulnerable people”.
Twelve people were taken out of the Abbeydale Nursing Home in South Shore yesterday and another 16 will also be found new accommodation after Blackpool Council and NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group terminated their contracts with Ribble Valley Care, which runs the home on New South Promenade.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had already issued a warning to the home about the way medicines were managed, and inspections over the last two years have constantly found failings.
Most recently, inspectors witnessed an elderly resident being moved by nurses and screaming out “it hurts” because they had not had their prescribed painkiller.
During an unannounced inspection in March, they also noted:
• One resident was unsafely moved using a sling that was too big.
• Records noted medication had been increased to some residents, but did not give reasons
• Some hand washing and cleaning facilities were unavailable
• Some communal areas had an “unpleasant and offensive smell”
• Many of the chairs and mattresses were stained
• Medical records and residents’ conditions were not kept up to date.
A spokeswoman for Blackpool Council confirmed the CQC’s reports and their own monitoring had sparked major concerns about the home, which was not making improvements quickly enough.
A joint statement from Blackpool Council and NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) stated: “We have been supporting Ribble Valley Care to help improve the service they provide to residents in Blackpool, however concerns remain over the quality of care.
“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly.
“We have a duty of care to vulnerable people and this has been reached with the health and well-being of residents placed first and foremost.”
Of the 34 residents in the home, 28 are funded by Blackpool Council or CCG.
Eleven of the 16 CCG residents have been moved out and another resident, funded by an out of area authority, has also been moved.
Both Blackpool Council and the CCG are now working with residents and their families to find new homes.
But relatives of people living in the home, which specialises in care for people with dementia and challenging behaviour, say the home has improved in recent months.
Amanda Turner and Marianne Eastens’s 82-year-old father, Joseph Turner, has beenat the home for three years.
Amanda, 52, from Falmouth Road, South Shore, said: “I’m angry because there had been a few problems but the staff have changed and my dad’s actually been happy.”
Amelia Bond, 92, suffers from dementia and has lived at the home for two years. Her son Paul, 68, from Manchester, is in the process of searching for a new home for her.
He said: “It’s quite devastating because I trust that my mother’s getting the best care.
“What’s going on is very dictatorial, as if something very bad was happening here.
“I could understand it if that was the case, but it’s not.”
Ribble Valley Care’s managing director, Simon Crowther, said he had spent more than £200,000 on improving the home since he took over last year. He said: “I gave myself a 12 month period to turn it round, there were far more problems than I anticipated.
“In November we got a really shocking CQC report, since then things have got progressively better and I’m absolutely convinced we’ve got a great home, although we’re not where we want to be.”
Mr Crowther said the home had reviewed the competency of staff administering medicine and offered retraining to those who needed it, and reviewed staff training and equipment concerning the smells inspectors noted.
He said one person had been sacked following the report’s concerns over the handling of patients.
The home received a scathing report last year by Blackpool coroner Anne Hind who criticised the risk assessment carried out on 84-year-old resident Lilian Riley who died following a fall in March 2010.
And when CQC Inspectors visited the home in March, only one out of nine standards of care was met, relating to staffing.
A spokesman said it aware of the moving of people to new placements and said it will continue to monitor the care home, stressing it “will not hesitate” to take further action if required.”
The decision to terminate contracts at the home was made on Monday, the same day a 57-year-old man died at Abbeydale.
Henry Wood’s death is thought to be unrelated to the current situation.
Mr Wood, originally from Glasgow, had lived in Blackpool for several years, and died of natural causes.