No baths, fire risks and the catalogue of issues at Leeds care home as owner went on shopping sprees

All residents were moved out of Radcliffe Gardens Nursing Home in 2018.
All residents were moved out of Radcliffe Gardens Nursing Home in 2018.

A report into a Leeds care home which was shut down has revealed a host of issues including that residents went unwashed for days, had to wait to use the toilet and were at serious fire risks, as the absent owner was outed for luxurious travel and shopping trips.

Radcliffe Gardens Care Home in Pudsey, which was rated as “inadequate” following its latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection, hit the headlines in December when managing director Claire Fryer told staff they would not be paid before Christmas, despite sharing Instagram photos of a lavish shopping trip to London.

Staff members told The Yorkshire Evening Post that they would not be paid despite having been short staffed and working around the clock to provide care.

At a meeting of a Leeds City Council’s adult scrutiny board on January 15, a council officer said that all of the residents had been moved elsewhere “not because of the care that was being provided... but there was very very poor management and real financial problems with the home not being managed effectively.”

She later added that they moved the residents due to having no confidence the owner of the home, Fryer, was taking the actions of the CQC, the council and the CQC seriously.

These are all the concerns raised in the report and what they relate to:

Insufficient baths or showers

In the report, the CQC said residents were not able to bathe as often as they would like.

A ‘bath list’ was on the wall in the nursing office which showed that residents were assigned a day and a slot for a bath.

The CQC was concerned that this had an ‘impact on person-centred care’ as people were not able to be bathed at a time of their choosing.

A resident told the inspectors: “ "I would like a bath or shower more often than once a week. That is what I did when I lived at home. I don't always feel as clean as I would like but I know how busy the staff are."

One of the relatives of a resident told the CQC: "My relative would like to have a bath or shower daily but there just isn't enough staff.

“I do worry about how they feel because I know they are not used to not feeling clean. I know that staff are busy and they really are, but why should my relative miss out."

Can’t get to the toilet

During the CQC’s visit, they observed that one person had to wait over 15 minutes to go to the toilet until staff were available to assist them.

Staff also raised concerns in the report about not having the time to help people get to the bathroom.

One staff member explained that one person had to observe the communal lounge area at all times which left one person to assist people.

Another staff member told the inspectors: "We often work with only three staff during the day when there should be four. It's hard work, most people need two staff, which just leaves one to watch everyone when we are short.

“You stay in the lounge watching people but not able to do anything. People have to wait; it's not nice having to tell people to wait for the toilet."

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No medication

The CQC was concerned that residents were at risk of not receiving their medicines when they needed them.

The report said that there were no instructions for staff on how or when to use 'as required' medicines.

After reviewing people's medication administration records (MARs), the CQC saw one person was prescribed a controlled drug for pain relief 'as required' up to four times daily.

We saw there was no guidance for staff to show under what circumstances they should administer the medication in the form of a 'PRN protocol'.

This meant people were at risk of not receiving their medicines when they needed them.

Fire risks

Inspectors concluded that there were serious fire risks which put the residents at harm.

14 out of the 17 residents needed two staff to assist them in the event of an emergency but the report revealed that at night between 7.30pm and 8am there were only two members of staff on duty.

This meant that not enough staff on duty at night to assist people safely in the event of a fire.

A fire risk assessment of the service had not been carried out since June 2014 and the fire risk assessment dated June 2014 showed 16 'immediate' actions which had not been addressed by the provider.

The CQC reported their concerns to the West Yorkshire Fire Service. They visited the service on 14 June 2018 and issued an enforcement notice on the provider of the service.

No manager and understaffed

The service did not have a registered manager in post and did not enough employ enough staff. This impacted negatively both on the patients and current staff members.

Staff the CQC spoke with told them that the provider was not visible, or approachable and some had never met the provider.

In the report, staff said that there was a lack of presence at the service by the provider and they felt they had been left to get on with running the service for them.

Staff reported feeling unsupported and not valued by the provider and felt that the service needed more staff.

One person said: “I wish we had more staff because it would just give us time to spend with people.”

The CQC said that the provider had not arranged staffing levels to ensure people could have their personal care needs met in a timely manner, people were not always involved in the development of their care plans and relatives were not always involved in reviews of their relative's care.

In the report, it said: “The provider's lack of engagement in overseeing the service had resulted in people not being appropriately cared for.”

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How the tip-off came about

The Care Quality Commission was tipped off to problems by someone familiar with the service.

In the report, it said: “Prior to our inspection we received concerning information. The concerns were in relation to the provider and their lack of involvement with the service. We shared these concerns with the local authority, and other commissioners of the service”

Closure

At a meeting of a Leeds City Council’s adult scrutiny board on January 15 it was revealed by a council officer that residents had been moved elsewhere last month and that the home was now being de-registered.

The care home was contacted for comment but has since closed. Claire Fryer was contacted for comment.

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