Allegations of neglect at ‘inadequate’ care home in Northumberland

The Grange Nursing Home in Warkworth.
The Grange Nursing Home in Warkworth.

A north Northumberland care home has been heavily criticised after an inspection partly sparked by a ‘serious incident’ involving an elderly resident.

The Grange Nursing Home, in Warkworth, was inspected by the independent regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), in November and December last year, but the report was published on Friday.

It has been placed in special measures after being rated as inadequate overall as well as in four of the five main criteria – being safe, effective, responsive and well-led. In terms of being caring, it requires improvement.

This followed an initial critical report in July last year, based on a March inspection, which concluded the home, which houses up to 23 residents, required improvement.

However, the leadership at The Grange changed earlier this year and the new manager has stressed that they are working extremely hard to address the concerns and investing money to make improvements.

According to the report, ‘allegations of neglect against the (previous) registered manager were upheld’ following an investigation into an incident reported prior to the inspection.

It adds: ‘We found that one person had been involved in a serious incident while using equipment in the service.

‘The equipment involved in the incident had been destroyed on the instructions of the manager. This action prevented us from reviewing the safety and suitability of the equipment involved.

‘In addition, medical advice had not been sought immediately for the person.

‘We spoke with the manager about this issue. She told us that the correct procedures had not been followed and she had not notified the person’s care manager or ourselves and this had been an oversight on her behalf.

‘We are investigating this incident and we will report on any action once it is complete.

‘Following our inspection, the local authority’s safeguarding adults team carried out its own investigation into this incident. Allegations of neglect against the registered manager were upheld’.

Elsewhere in the report, it says: ‘Staff told us that prior to our visit they transferred some people to the shower room using shower chairs.

‘It was not clear whether the shower chairs were designed for the transportation of people around the home.

‘One shower chair had been disposed of following the serious incident and the other shower chair had been stored in the loft’.

Much of the other criticism relates to the running of the facility and how the care home’s practices and facilities meet, or fail to meet, the guidelines and legislation, such as for the management of medicines.

But the report does include praise for the staff with inspectors observing ‘that care was provided with patience and kindness’.

It adds that ‘people and relatives with whom we spoke told us that staff were caring’ and ‘we read compliments which had been received from relatives about the care their family members had received’.

The home’s new manager, Blessing Giwa, said: “It is with regret and disappointment that our overall rating was inadequate. Having read it thoroughly, we acknowledge the comments, appreciate the concerns and regret the situation we are in now.

“We assure you that we are working extremely hard to address those concerns and improve the way we look after the people in our care.

“New management has been in place since mid-February 2016. Staff have been enrolled on various courses and we have worked with external professionals to ensure that our practice is up-to-date and in line with required standards.

“There is a major overhaul of all our recording, auditing and quality control systems. We are therefore aiming to have fully functioning and accountable systems up and running as soon as possible and before the next inspection which is now imminent.”

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “We are aware of the report and the findings and we will continue to work with the CQC and the care home management to ensure that the issues are resolved.”

Full statement from Mr Giwa, home manager

This serves as a response to our last Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in November/December 2015 which went live at the end of last week.

It is with regret and disappointment that our overall rating was ‘inadequate’.

Having read it thoroughly, we acknowledge the comments, appreciate the concerns and regret the situation we are in now.

We assure you that we are working extremely hard to address those concerns and improve the way we look after the people in our care.

In that regard, we wish to summarise to you our progress so far, what we are doing now and our plans for the future.

A detailed action plan that includes further actions we thought are necessary to holistically achieve our main goals was sent to CQC.

We believe these plans are achievable and objective.

We also believe that our target time-frames are realistic and as short a period as possible.

New management has been in place since mid-February 2016.

Staff have been enrolled on various courses and we have worked with external professionals to ensure that our practice is up-to-date and in line with required standards.

There is a major overhaul of all our recording, auditing and quality-control systems.

We are therefore aiming to have fully functioning and accountable systems up and running as soon as possible and before the next inspection, which is now imminent.

The home is investing large sums of money to ensure that the environment and equipment used for our residents and staff is of high quality, safe, fit-for-purpose and reliable.

For example, we have replaced carpets in the two lounges and hallways with dementia-friendly laminated flooring.

In consultation with the local fire station manager, we have installed a door keypad linked to the fire alarm in order to increase the safety of our residents who live upstairs.

A sluice room was built and we are awaiting a plumber to connect the fully working sluice on site to the main drainage system.

Also, we have contacted Stirling University for their consultative work with improving dementia-friendly premises.

It is evident that we have been pro-active and reactive to the November inspection and are working hard to resolve issues.

We now have clear procedures on recording and reviewing care plans.

Shift patterns have changed to accommodate the needs of the residents more.

The general feedback we are receiving is that there is progress and we are heading in the right direction at a pace that is not too fast to compromise on quality and not too slow to prolong the needed changes.

It is a challenge to embrace change and the new management has the determination, knowledge, people skills and dedication to encourage and effect that change.

This is evident in our practice now and our conduct since the November inspection.

We were pleased that the inspection acknowledged our caring nature and our efforts in providing exciting, original and entertaining activities.

This assures us that we have a foundation to build on and develop with the hope of a better grade in the next inspection.

This quarter, our activities calendar includes a street party to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, national care home day celebrations, numerous singers and entertainers for birthdays and other exciting events that improve the quality of life for our residents.

With a new manager in place, a more enthusiastic staff team, a bigger financial commitment to improve the environment and a renewed drive to succeed, we aim to provide a responsive, safe and well-led service for our residents and the community.

Our compliance and transparency to work closely with regulatory services, including CQC, is unquestionable.

We hope this response confirms our commitment to improve the service we offer in all areas.

We welcome anyone to visit and see for themselves the improvements we have made and the plans for the future.