The '˜concentration camp' care home
That was the damning assessment to inspectors of one elderly resident at The Acorns Care Centre in Wigan, which has become the fifth borough care home to be placed into special measures this year.
Care Quality Commission officers found a series of shocking failures during their three-day review.
They ruled that staff were not suitably trained and staffing levels were not sufficient meaning they observed residents shouting for help on occasion because no one was available to help them.
The inspectors also noted that some residents didn’t have call bells while others had them but they were out of reach.
The home was also criticised for not supporting people to live full and active lives as there were few planned activities and their medication was not suitably managed.
Fire exits were also seen blocked by boxes and refuse sack or propped open with cartons. External bins were also seen to be overflowing.
A report following the inspection reads: “People told us they felt safe but expressed concerns regarding staffing levels. We found that there was not enough suitably trained and experienced staff on duty to meet people’s social, emotional and physical needs.
“We identified serious concerns regarding risk management that we immediately fed back to the registered manager and we shared this information regarding our concerns with the local authorities safeguarding team and local commissioners to mitigate the risk of further harm occurring.
“The service was not complying with the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and the Deprivation 3 Acorns Care Centre Inspection report 27 May 2016 of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).
“We heard people shouting for help and on occasions we were unable to find staff to assist people. We attended handover and noted staff were not deployed to the ground floor. This resulted in people being left for long periods of time on the ground floor with no staff presence to monitor their needs and ensure their safety. Whilst we found some staff had good intentions, they were not supported by the overall management or systems in the home to ensure that people were consistently treated with privacy, kindness, compassion, dignity and respect.”
But by far the most damning comments about the home came from some of the residents themselves. The report continues: “We were told that no formal complaints had been received. There was no record of a complaint being received by the home in the complaints file.
“However, people we spoke with told us they had raised concerns and they had not been dealt with. This indicated to us that the complaints process was ineffective.
“One person told us; ‘It’s appalling staying here. It’s like a concentration camp. The bedrooms are freezing overnight. They always say that they will bring you more bedclothes but they never do. I have spoken to the manager about this and like everything else here it falls on deaf ears’.
“A second person told us; ‘I just put up with this place as I haven’t got many years left on this earth. It’s a waste of time moaning about anything’.”
Despite this, the inspectors said they did observe some positive examples of staff going above and beyond for residents.
The report details: “A person told us, how a staff member ‘had gone the extra mile’ for them. They told us that they had had a funeral to attend but didn’t have black shoes and the member of staff had gone to purchase them a pair of shoes on their day off.”
A spokesman for the home said: “Any issues raised in the report are being dealt with. We take any complaints seriously and we are working to address the issues raised.
“The concentration camp comment that was made was the resident’s sense of humour and was taken out of context. He said it so he can’t retract it.
“We have contacted the family members of our residents to discuss the report and told them they can contact us at any time or come into speak to us. We have had nothing but positive feedback from them.”