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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Watchdog calls for urgent improvements at Cumbrian care home

A care home has been ordered to make urgent improvements after serious concerns over the care and welfare of residents.

Branthwaite Nursing Home photo
Branthwaite Nursing Home

In one case, a diabetic patient with mental health problems did not receive medication and their condition deteriorated so much they ended up in hospital.

A watchdog has now called for urgent improvements at Branthwaite Nursing Home in Workington, which has been issued with a formal warning after national inspectors raised concerns about the safety and welfare of its residents.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced spot check at the Branthwaite Road home in August.

The visit followed what it describes as a series of “safeguarding alerts”, including allegations of neglect of service users and poor care.

Inspectors found that the home, run by Aspenframe Ltd, was failing to deliver effective care to residents. Bosses have now apologised and say they are now working “flat out” to remedy what they describe as a “serious failure” in expected standards.

It is just two years since the same home was given a zero-star rating due to concerns about standards of care.

This time, during the unannounced visit on August 20, inspectors reviewed care records and spoke to staff and the temporary manager.

They found that staff were struggling to deal with dementia patients and had not all received specific training.

In one case a person with dementia was so difficult to care for that, following advice from medical staff, their sedation had been doubled – leaving them unresponsive when their family visited.

It was later reduced by the GP but the CQC was concerned that staff had not thought to involve a psychiatrist in the medication review, nor were they able to describe the care this person required.

Also, in some cases, adequate behavioural plans were not in place to protect other residents if those with dementia became aggressive.

Another example related to a person with mental health needs. Again no behavioural plan was in place, meaning that when they refused care for long periods of time they did not receive their diabetes medication, personal care or pressure sore prevention. Their condition deteriorated so much that they subsequently ended up in hospital.

Malcolm Bower-Brown, deputy director of the CQC in the north, said: the home must make urgent improvements or face further action.

“This warning sends a clear and public message that Aspenframe needs to address these issues as a matter of urgency or face serious consequences.”

“We will return to the Branthwaite Nursing Home in the near future and if we find that the provider is not making the required progress we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers to ensure residents are receiving the service they are entitled to expect,” he added.

A spokesman for Gateshead-based parent company Executive Care Group, which owns and operates the home, said its senior management and staff are working closely with social services and the CQC to turn standards around.

“We acknowledge the issues identified by the CQC and are working flat out to remedy the situation,” he said.

“The concerns that have been raised represent a serious failure in our normal standards of high care provision and are utterly unacceptable. They are being addressed as a matter of the highest priority.

“We fully apologise for the current situation and the distress this has caused to residents at Branthwaite, their families and loved ones.”

He added that group bosses are working with a new local manager to implement an action plan, quickly reestablishing a high level of nursing and specialist care.

“We propose to develop an externally-led, independent group to regularly monitor progress and improvements within Branthwaite. The management will not accept another failure in standards,” he said.

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