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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Elderly left unwashed for weeks at care home

Elderly people were left unwashed for more than three weeks, rat poison was stored in food cupboards and infections were left to spread at a crisis-hit care home.

Meadow Bank photo
Meadow Bank Nursing Home

The horrifying details are the latest failures uncovered by inspectors in a north Cumbrian care home.

Meadow Bank Nursing Home, in Curthwaite, near Wigton, has now closed – just days after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report was published.

Inspectors had returned to the home in March to make sure urgent action had been taken to deal with some serious concerns.

Instead they uncovered a catalogue of extremeconcerns which also included a lack of provision for people with dementia which had resulted in one resident being seriously hurt.

Inspectors reported finding one resident who “suffered a serious injury in the home because the team had not been able to deal with complex behavioural challenges.

“The provider did not have a strategy for managing dementia care,” they said. “At least one of these service users had not been bathed or showered for at least three weeks.”

The systematic failures were highlighted when it was revealed a new shower chair had been provided for a resident – but they had still not been bathed several weeks later because “no one had told the staff they could use this seat”.

Inspectors also noted at least three other people who had not been bathed or showered for at least three weeks. A number of people needed their hair washing, only one person had been bathed at all on the day of the inspection and “at least three people” had eye infections.

Other failures includes rat poison kept in the food storage area, a “round hole” in the woodwork which “could have been from rodents” and poor monitoring of cleaning products.

The bowl of the sluice was stained and the light pull in the sluice and neighbouring toilet were both “stained black from being used”.

Some improvements had been made – such as better storage of towels and toiletries not having to be shared – but inspectors found these to be minor.

It was the third damning inspection made by the CQC since November.

Two previous visits had seen inspectors assess nine key standards at Meadow Bank – and rule that it had failed every one of them.

Last month the proprietor Linda Sheehan – who runs it under her previous name of Linda Whalley – contacted the News & Star to reveal she planned to close the home in three months.

She said she had a potentially life-threatening health condition which would prevent her from carrying out the necessary improvements ordered by the CQC. Despite her assurances the home would remain open until late June, the News & Star has learned that Meadow Bank closed its doors last week with the loss of 25 jobs. All 18 residents have now been found alternative accommodation.

A spokeswoman for the Care Quality Commission confirmed: “The last service user moved out last week. All staff have been moved on to other jobs or made redundant.”

The spokeswoman said the home had closed voluntarily, but that the CQC had issued a number of enforcement notices.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman added: “All of the residents have now moved out of Meadow Bank. This was managed through close collaboration between the social care and health teams, working with families and residents.”

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