Damning report into city care homes reveals raft of failings

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Distressed residents pacing up and down corridors, failures to report alleged abuse appropriately and unhygienic facilities have been flagged up in a raft of damning Leeds care home inspections.

A trio of reports released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are the latest to raise concerns over standards of care at homes for the elderly, with more than two-thirds of recently inspected Leeds facilities being deemed inadequate or requiring improvement.

The health watchdog has reported serious failings at Amber Lodge, in Wortley, Oakhaven Care Home, in Oakwood, and Acre Green Nursing Home, in Middleton, which are three of Leeds’s eight inadequate homes.

Until improvements are made and Leeds City Council’s “serious concerns” are addressed, all new council-funded admissions to Amber Lodge have been suspended.

A local authority spokesman said it is implementing checks on all homes where concerns have been raised. There are 107 registered care homes in Leeds, of which 42 have been subject to a new five-point CQC inspection introduced in October last year. Of those reviewed so far, 29 have been found to be inadequate or requiring improvement.

Healthwatch Leeds, which represents patients in the city, has concerns over the number of homes rated inadequate by the CQC in Leeds.

Tanya Matilainen, director of the organisation, said: “I do believe that the new inspection regime plays a part but we still have more homes rated inadequate than most other local authorities in the country and issues must be addressed. No one should have to live in and accept the kind of circumstances described in these reports.”

Several residents were found “pacing up and down the corridors” without available staff to distract them from their distress at Amber Lodge, which houses up to 40 residents with dementia, during inspections on January 30 and February 5.

The CQC’s inspectors described unclean, damaged walls, difficulties in getting wipes and flannels to meet people’s needs and that the home was “not dementia friendly” as it gave little opportunity for people to gain stimulation.

Some residents had lost weight but were not referred on to health professionals and “people did not consistently have their dignity maintained”.

The management team at Oakhaven Care Home was deemed to have “failed to report all incidents of abuse or alleged abuse” appropriately to the CQC upon its inspection on February 25.

Staffing levels at the home, which houses up to 24 older people of whom some have dementia, were not always sufficient and a number of areas were “unclean” and “poorly maintained”.

The CQC also published quotes from residents that were collected during the inspection. One said: “Nothing goes on really. All there is to do is watch TV and the one in here has been broken for ages.”

Another added: “I don’t know what the fresh air is.”

Staffing levels were “not adequate to keep people safe” at Acre Green Nursing Home, which is home to up to 50 older people, some of whom some have dementia, during its CQC inspection on February 18 and 23. People who needed support to eat had to wait longer than others to be fed, hygiene standards were not maintained and medicines were not always issued to residents in a safe way.

Debbie Westhead, CQC north’s deputy chief inspector, said: “People are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care.”