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WIRRAL: ‘Unexplained bruising’ at care home

WIRRAL: ‘Unexplained bruising’ at care home

Homecrest Care Centre in Wallasey, Wirral (Credit Google)

A care home where some residents had “unexplained bruising” was unsafe according to inspectors.

Homecrest Care Centre, on Falkland Road in Seacombe, Wirral, was rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the worst possible rating, after inspectors found that low staffing levels at night meant some residents may not have been evacuated in the event of a fire.

Ricki Bibi, from the provider Homecrest Care Centre, said she felt the report was unfair and that the provider gave the CQC evidence of factual inaccuracies in the report.

Ms Bibi also wanted to reassure people that everyone being cared for at the home is a priority and that residents are not in danger.

Perhaps the most concerning part of the CQC report read: “People were not always protected from the risk of abuse.

“Some people had experienced unexplained bruising that had not been investigated and reported appropriately to protect them from harm.”

Low staff levels at the home appeared to be a major problem.

The document added: “Staffing levels were not safe. The manager told us that four staff should be on duty from 8am-8pm each day.

“Staff rotas showed that on some days there were only three and sometimes only two care staff on duty for parts of the day.”

Residents who spoke to the CQC said: “’The staff are under pressure, there are not enough of them, but they do their best’ and ‘the staff are fine and patient there are just not enough of them about’.”

This had a particular impact on safety in one area. The document added: “Fire safety arrangements were not adequate, staffing levels at night were a serious concern as they were not sufficient to ensure all people could be evacuated in the event of a fire.

“The fire evacuation procedure was unclear and there was not enough evacuation equipment in place to help people evacuate.”

The report continued: “Domestic staff struggled to maintain standards of cleanliness across the home in the time allocated.

“A domestic member of staff told us, ‘I can’t clean [the] whole home, I just do what I can’.”

This had an impact on the care home’s efforts to prevent and control infections, such as Covid-19.

The report said that records on Covid-19 testing among staff had not been properly maintained and that covid risks had not been assessed to identify those who may be at higher risk of contracting the virus than others.

The document added: “Records relating to the cleaning of the home and the equipment in use showed significant gaps. There was no evidence of regular cleaning of frequently touched points such as door handles or light switches to mitigate the risk of the spread of infection.”

However, inspectors said that staff and residents were involved in the vaccine programme and that PPE was worn appropriately by staff.

There were other problems at Homecrest also.

One part of the report read: “Important information about people’s diabetes, for example their normal blood sugar range and the checks staff needed to undertake, were not always identified or carried out to ensure people’s diabetes was stable.”

The document added: “The manager had not always ensured that people’s health conditions were subject to regular review and support from other health and social care professionals such as the diabetic nurse or the chiropodist, as required.

“One person said: ‘I need my toenails doing, I keep waiting for them to be done’. A relative told us: ‘His fingernails are long and need cutting and his toenails need cutting’.

The report did note that some residents and relatives said positive things about the care home.

The document added: “Relatives told us that staff engaged with them well and kept them informed of their loved one’s progress.

“People we spoke with said the manager was approachable and pleasant. Relatives confirmed this. One person said, ‘I speak with [name of manager] as she passes, and I feel I could speak with her if I needed to, she is very pleasant. I think things could be improved by more staff’.”

Ms Bibi, from the provider Homecrest Care Centre, said the pandemic had left a shortage of staff across the sector and in other industries such as haulage.

She also said that a lot of people left social care due to the need to be fully vaccinated to carry on working and that the provider cannot be expected to have a magic wand to deal with this situation.

Ms Bibi said she was confident that the care home would come out of this the other end and added that residents are very well looked after and that the staff are amazing and have the full support of residents’ next of kin.

She felt the report was unfair and that the provider gave the CQC evidence of factual inaccuracies in the report.

Ms Bibi also wanted to reassure people that everyone being cared for at the home is a priority and that residents are not in danger.

Cllr Yvonne Nolan, chair of Wirral Council’s adult social care committee, said: “Wirral Health and Care Commissioning (WHCC) have been working closely with the owner and the manager of Homecrest following the CQC inspection.

“A voluntary suspension on new admissions to this care home has been in place since 19th November whilst improvements are made within the home.

“An action plan is in place, and we continue to support the care provider whilst they work to the agreed plan to meet the improvements required by ourselves and the CQC.

Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter

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