Care home abruptly shut down after damning inspection

Cuerden Grange nursing home
Cuerden Grange nursing home
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  • Residents have just days to find new homes
  • Care Quality Commission inspectors raised “serious concerns” about Bamber Bridge home
  • Owner says shortage of nurses is reason for closure
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BOSSES of a failing care home have decided to close it down following a damning inspection – leaving elderly residents just days to find new accommodation.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) identified “serious concerns” at Cuerden Grange Nursing Home, in Station Road, Bamber Bridge, earlier this month, and last week a decision was made by owners to apply for de-registration.

For legal reasons the watchdog is currently unable to reveal what the problems found were, but owners insist any issues relate to an inability to recruit suitable nurses.

It comes 10 months after the 47-bedroomed home was slammed by inspectors for a range of failures, including not being consistently caring, failing to ensure medicine was safely administered and failing to report allegations of poor practice to the local authority.

Thirty-three residents – most with mental health conditions or physical disabilities – were at the home when the shock announcement was made and, although some have already moved, the remainder now face an anxious wait to find a new home.

A spokesman for the CQC said: “We did an inspection earlier this month and identified serious concerns.

“These concerns were fed back to the county council and the provider and it was their choice to cancel registration. This is yet to be processed.

“We expect them to provide notice for residents to move and support helping with the process, but they don’t legally have to.”

A formal report into the findings is being compiled but will not be released publicly until it is checked by the owners.

Owner Keith Lowe said: “We’ve made the decision to close the nursing home because of the national shortage of nurses.

“For the last six months we’ve been struggling to get hold of people of the right calibre.

“Things have been getting worse and worse, and although we deal with 10 different agencies, a few weekends ago we were unable to get a nurse.

“For some reason it’s not attractive for people to come and work in nursing homes in Preston but we were open and honest and told the CQC about our difficulties.”

He acknowledged that failings had been identified by inspectors but put these down to staffing problems.

He added: “I’m extremely upset about it, because this was the company’s first home and the last thing we want to do is close it.

“But we’re dealing with people here, not commodities, and we weren’t comfortable running a service in this way.”

He pointed out that the Cuerden Care Centres run other nursing and residential homes in the North West which have good CQC inspection reports, including Cuerden Grange Residential Home, which shares the same site off Station Road in Bamber Bridge, and was found to be effective, caring, responsive and well led.

Lancashire County Council is now involved in helping residents to relocate to other homes in the area but is not involved in any investigation into welfare.

A spokesman for the council said: “We are aware of the decision by the owner to close Cuerden Grange nursing home. We know that this is a difficult and unsettling time for the residents and their families.

“We’ve spoken to the families to reassure them and support them during this time.

“Our priority is to make sure that the residents are receiving high quality care. The county council is working closely with the CCG, and the wider NHS, to ensure that this nursing home has suitable staffing in the short term.

“We are also working with our partners to make sure that the residents’ needs are assessed, to find them suitable alternative homes where they’ll get a high standard of nursing care.”

A CQC report published at the end of October revealed the home had not had a manager in place since April 2013 and failed to meet standards in all areas of the inspection.

In particular, inspectors found that medicines were not always safely administered, the service was not consistently caring, no checks had been made of staff’s understanding and competency, and there had been a failure to report allegations of poor practice to the local authority.

Enforcement action was taken against it in three of the nine areas, and by January improvements had been made but the CQC still required improvements to safety, efficiency and leadership.

Mr Lowe said there were not yet any plans in place as to how the nursing home building would be used in the future.