Inspections uncover catalogue of care home failings

Blackpool Gazette investigation looking at failings at Fylde coast care homes.
Blackpool Gazette investigation looking at failings at Fylde coast care homes.
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Dozens of care homes across the Fylde coast are failing to meet basic standards, The Gazette can today reveal.

Inspections carried out by watchdog the Care Quality Commission have discovered 24 homes providing care and nursing for the elderly falling short of the standards set by the regulator.

Care homes based in North Shore, South Shore, St Annes, Knott End, Lytham, Cleveleys, Thornton, Fleetwood and Pilling are among those found to have failings.

The CQC expects homes it inspects without warning to treat residents with respect, show high levels of care and good management.

But a string of inspections carried out since the start of this year have discovered a number of failings, including:

• Concerns in one home about whether residents were protected from the risk of abuse

• A resident with a monitored diet ate takeaway food, chips, fried fish and pizza five out of seven days

• Extensive damp was discovered in residents’ rooms

• One resident missed 13 doses of newly prescribed medicine over 10 days

• Staff were found not to wear gloves or wash their hands when handling medication

• No leisure activities were provided for residents at one home other than watching television – even then residents’ chairs were positioned so they were unable to see the TV

The findings come after The Gazette reported a shameful catalogue of failings at the Abbeydale Nursing Home, in South Shore, where residents were removed from the home when inspectors became concerned by the poor level of care.

Evidence of residents being left in pain after not being given medication, a scabies outbreak, and ‘resident-on-resident’ abuse was found at Abbeydale.

It also comes as The Gazette today reveals the anguish of one family whose relative was injured in a care home in Freckleton shortly before she died.

Police arrested a member of staff at Le Grand care home, in Freckleton, in 
August 2012 following allegations from another member of staff that 88-year-old Marie Lowe had been assaulted.

The man was never charged following his arrest on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, but a post mortem 
report uncovered a number of injuries to Mrs Lowe’s 

Today, community leaders have called on all the homes to look carefully at their failings – and act.

Hazel Walker, chairman of Blackpool Senior Voice Forum, said: “Older people have given a lot in their lives to 
different causes and dignity should be afforded to them.

“One of the problems which always arises is the family are so frightened of reporting things because they fear the cared for person in the home will not get the treatment they should get (if someone complains), so consequently the families are reticent to say what is going on.

“I’ve had to move my 
mother out of care homes three or four times because I found disgusting conditions.

“I was finding people were wearing other people’s clothes and they hadn’t been washed, which really wasn’t very nice.”

Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, said: “The financial crisis, in terms of care homes, and there has been a long term problem with this, sometimes affects the ability of care home owners to improve and maintain them.

“When they’re subject to financial problems, sometimes corners can be cut on levels of staff, and the training and skills of staff.

“The other thing about Blackpool, like other seaside coastal towns, is over the years we’ve attracted quite a lot of people coming to the 
resort for the care homes, that means that requires quite a strong level of inspection.

“I think both the CQC and local authority need to think hard about what they can do – and I’m not criticising them here – to put resources in so day to day running can be maintained for the benefit of the residents.”

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