The Care Quality Commission has placed four care homes in Cornwall run by the Morleigh Group into special measures following the BBC1 Panorama programme on Monday of this week. The four homes have been rated ‘Inadequate’.
The CQC is currently taking further action to protect the safety and welfare of all the people living at the homes.
The full reports available on the CQC website include:
Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of Adult Social Care, said: “These reports make horrifying reading – people in distress being ignored by staff; a person lying in a urine-soaked bed for two hours; people sat in the same chair all day with uneaten meals in front of them, and no help to eat or drink; someone needing medical attention waiting weeks to be referred to their GP. These and so many other examples show why we have rated each of these homes as Inadequate and are taking further action to protect the safety and welfare of the people living there.
“These services were providing grim, shoddy and unsafe care – the sort that no one should ever have to put up with. I am sorry that people have had to endure this poor level of care.
“The owner of the Morleigh Group knew what they needed to do to provide good quality care because we had made that clear. They were supported by Cornwall Council and the NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group to make improvements. They failed to listen and take action and they allowed the services to seriously decline since our previous inspections when the homes were rated as Requires Improvement.
“At Clinton House, Elmsleigh and Collamere, there were not enough staff to meet people’s needs properly. This has been a major factor in the serious decline and the failures we have seen.”
“Our objective with Morleigh Limited had been to get them to improve their services. We know it can be done and in the past 12 months 23 Cornish care homes have made sufficient improvement to lift their overall rating from Requires Improvement to Good.
“But where services are Inadequate and fail to improve, and people are at risk, we will take enforcement action which ultimately can lead to the closure of a service.
“I know this is a worrying time for the residents, their families and carers and I am sorry for the uncertainty and anxiety this situation must be causing them. We will continue to work closely with Cornwall Council and the NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure that people are safe and well and I am grateful to them for the support they are currently providing.”
CQC inspectors had visited Collamere Nursing Home at Lostwithiel on 10 October in response to concerns about the service. Inspectors visited Elmsleigh Care Home in Par on 25 October to follow up on improvements required by a previous inspection. Planned inspections of the group’s two other nursing homes, Clinton House at St Austell and St Theresa’s, Callington, were brought forward following information received from the BBC Panorama programme on 26 October.
At Elmsleigh Care Home, inspectors found one person who suffered from incontinence and was at risk of pressure sores, but was not routinely turned or checked by staff. Records showed that for several days the person often received no personal care – exposing them to the risk of urine burns to their skin. People sat in the same seat all day, with their meals left in front of them uneaten, even though most needed encouragement to eat. Some appeared not to realise it was mealtime. Some people had sustained substantial weight loss but it was not clear what action had been taken to help them maintain a healthy weight. Although food and drink was monitored, no-one was checking the records or taking action to address any concerns.
At Collamere Nursing Home, inspectors witnessed people with dementia who were calling out repeatedly for some time with no response. One person shouted out throughout the day and night. It was only after the inspection that their GP was asked to review their pain relief – and then they appeared to sleep without signs of distress. Staff reported continued concerns about the laundry service. Inspectors showed a sample of worn, frayed and discoloured sheets and towels to the management team – who blamed staff for drying pillows in the tumble drier and for staff taking new towels for their own use.
At Clinton House Nursing Home there were not always enough staff on duty. Inspectors noticed one person in distress and crying for an hour and a half while staff walked by three times without speaking to the person to find out if they needed anything or to comfort them. The management of medicines was not robust. One person had not been given one of their prescribed medicines for three days. Inspectors had to intervene when one person – who had previously been assessed at risk of falls – was left unattended nearly fell out of their wheelchair.
At St. Theresa’s Nursing Home, inspectors identified one person who had pressure sores, but had not been repositioned for eight hours. There had been a delay of five days in seeking appropriate specialist advice. Medicines were not being managed safely, the premises and equipment were not being maintained and the collection of soiled laundry from bedrooms and cleaning procedures did not ensure suitable standards of cleanliness. Continence pads and net pants used to secure continence pads were shared communally.