'Faecal matter' found on door handles of Fulwood care home as residents weight loss goes unnoticed by staff

Residents at Banksfield Nursing Home were at risk of choking, malnutrition and dehydration, concluded a health watchdog.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 5th November 2021, 9:21 am

Elderly residents at a Fulwood care home were at risk of becoming malnourished because of an unmonitored diet, a report by a health watchdog has concluded.

And walls and door handles were found 'stained with faecal matter'.

The home is now under special measures, following complaints from both relatives and staff.

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The Banksfield Care home, in Fulwood, is now under special measures

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An unannounced inspection, carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at Banksfield Nursing Home in Fulwood, made worrying findings that residents were 'not safe and at risk of avoidable harm'.

Lasting three days last month, health chiefs found the diet and fluid intake of residents was 'not consistently monitored and nutritional risk assessments were not always carried out.'

This put elderly residents at risk of becoming malnourished.

Residents lost weight but staff didn't notice

Staff did not notice that one person even lost 1.4 kilos of weight over the 15 day period.

Another resident, who was under the care of dietician, had not been weighed for three months.

And others, with dementia, could have choked as staff did not always to supervise them during mealtimes.

Inspectors said: "One person's fluids intake records showed they had only taken 20mls of fluids between midnight and 11.30am, we observed this person alone in their bedroom with two jugs of untouched fluids, staff told us at 11.30am they had not assisted the person with personal care or breakfast.

"We observed people who lived on the dementia nursing unit receive poor mealtime experiences.

"People were not sufficiently supported or prompted to eat and drink. People were also placed at risk of choking because staff did not always supervise them when sat near foods which they were unable to safely eat.

"Staff demonstrated little knowledge about people's dietary risk and nutritional needs.

"Systems and management oversight were not robust enough to consistently ensure people's nutrition and hydration needs were met. This placed people at risk of harm."

Such findings were found to be a breach of regulation 14 of the Health and Social Care Act.

Inspectors also found that cleanliness standards had slipped, with 'dried food and faecel matter' lining the door handles and corridors.

Two elderly residents were also harmed in an incident that was unwitnessed by staff and the record was not reviewed by the manager in line with the home's policy.

Inspectors added: "There was a failure to continuously risk assess or carry out risk assessment strategies.

"Staff did not always know the needs of people they supported and therefore did not always sufficiently protect them from harm.

"Two people who lived with dementia had expired foods in their personal bedroom fridge. This placed them at significant risk of avoidable harm because they were unable to identify that the food had expired and was fermented."

The service relied on agency staff to administer people's medicines, but many were unaware of how to identify when someone who was unable to reliably communicate they were in pain, distressed or constipated.

It added that environment safety including fire safety checks were not always carried out in line with the related policy and procedures.

Having deteriorated from the last inspection in March with a rating of 'Requires Improvement', to now 'Inadequate', the care home which provides personal and nursing care to 31 people aged 65 and over is now under review and will be re-inspected in the next six months where the CQC will decide if further action is required.

However, staff told inspectors they felt the service had 'stabilised' after previous manager had exited the business.

Staff also said they 'felt able to raise ideas and involved in the running of the service.'

Other relatives of residents agreed they felt confident to 'raise concerns' however others commented that action was delayed by the home after the complaints were made.

The CQC has now requested an action plan for the provider to give details on how it aims to improve its standards.

A follow-up inspection will be carried within the next six months.