Investment plan after criticism from regulator

Chairman of trustees Jim Thompson with general manager Heather'Dixon.
Chairman of trustees Jim Thompson with general manager Heather'Dixon.

An investment programme at an Alnwick care home has been unveiled, as part of its response to an unfavourable report from the regulator.

The announcement comes as the trustees of Abbeyfield House address issues raised in a recent report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

While the report, published last month, recognises the high levels of resident satisfaction, it also raises concerns regarding aspects of the home’s management.

The well-established care home, which accommodates 25 people in a purpose-built facility, is run by a committee of volunteers with professional managers and staff.

Chairman of trustees, Jim Thompson, said: “We take the findings of the Care Quality Commission very seriously and we are taking steps to ensure we can make changes to our management systems.

“First and foremost, we would like to reassure our residents and their families that their health and well-being is at the forefront of everything we do. I’d like to reassure everyone that Abbeyfield is a safe place to live.

“While we are pleased that high level of resident satisfaction, wide variety of activities for residents, the good quality of food, management of medicines, hygiene and, importantly, the friendly atmosphere at Abbeyfield have all been recognised, we fully recognise the need to make positive improvements in our management procedures.

“We have implemented a comprehensive plan which clearly outlines the steps we are taking.

“These include recruiting a new manager and deputy manager who are both highly experienced.

“We are also working with locally-based external advisors to introduce a Total Quality Management System, which will help us improve communications and efficiency as well as introduce new procedures. This is already under way and we are making good progress.”

Further investments already carried out include the creation of a new medical centre and drug store and the introduction of a state-of-the-art personal alarm system for residents.

Additionally, a new shower room has been created, the central heating system has been replaced and the building has been re-roofed.

Mr Thompson added: “We will be working closely with our residents and their families and have appointed an independent resident liaison, who is the son of one of our residents. We will be working together to share feedback and continue to introduce improvements while keeping the happy friendly atmosphere here at Abbeyfield.”

What does the report say?

Safe: The service was not always safe – issues such as the home’s temperature, staffing levels and monitoring of self-administration of medicine are mentioned.

Effective: Not always effective – ‘Not all aspects of the environment met best practice guidance’.

Caring: Not always caring – ’We received mixed feedback from people and relatives about the caring nature of staff.’

Responsive: Not always responsive, eg, the complaints procedure.

Well-led: Not well-led – Staff ‘told us morale was low’.