Updated: Saturday, 25th January 2020 @ 8:25am

Oldham care home exposed: Residents 'neglected' and staff 'frightened to death bad accident will happen'

Oldham care home exposed: Residents 'neglected' and staff 'frightened to death bad accident will happen'

| By Chris White – MM exclusive

An Oldham care home’s poor staffing levels and residents being left ‘at risk’ due to mismanagement of medicines have forced a health watchdog to take enforcement action.

Even members of staff admitted they were ‘frightened to death’ that a bad accident would happen at Oaklands Rest Home on Shaw Road, Royton.

Other staff members felt that residents were 'neglected'  – with elderly people being told to 'wait' to go to the toilet due to staff shortages.

The report, by the Care Quality Commission, claimed the failings could have a ‘significant effect on [the residents’] health, safety or welfare’.

It is the third time the care home has come under fire, following an inspection in October 2013 that highlighted similar shortcomings.

Now the CQC watchdog have demanded their enforcement actions are put in place – and slapped the care home with a deadline of May 12 to comply.

Failure to meet the deadline could result in restriction of services, closure or even prosecution.

They report states: “The health of people living in the home is placed at unnecessary risk of harm when medicines records are inaccurate.”

Inspectors said: “[Inadequate staffing] meant that the care delivered did not always maintain and promote all aspects of people's wellbeing.

“This was because there were insufficient staff to provide for people's social and daytime activity needs.”

The care home is listed as providing 'accommodation for persons who require nursing or personal care, dementia, mental health conditions, sensory impairments, caring for adults over 65 years'.

However staffing levels were so bad that staff themselves revealed to inspectors that they were worried an accident would happen.

"I am frightened to death there will be a bad accident,” said one member of staff.

Another carer added: "We are definitely understaffed and it puts a strain on us."

Oaklands Rest Home is registered to provide personal non-nursing care to 32 older people.

Yet the CQC report found the care home was failing to meet ‘the national standards that people should be able to expect’.

During interviews with staff and residents the inspectors found there was ‘not enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people’s needs.’

While people were complimentary about the carers, saying that they were ‘good and kind’ many residents complained about the effects of understaffing.

"There are not enough staff, the girls have to do everything,” one resident said.

One incident included a resident was left waiting ‘about 15 minutes’ for assistance after ringing their buzzer.

Another resident had to wait for 20 minutes to be taken to the toilet due to an insufficient number of staff.

One care worker at the home believed they were letting people down in their care.

They said: "I feel we are neglecting people in a way. People are not getting as much time as they deserve."

Another said: "It shouldn't be like this. They have worked all their lives to live here and we should be able to fuss around them.

"We are telling people to wait to go to the toilet. They are very good and understand but it's not right. It's so unfair."

Staff were described as 'caring' but 'busy, with little or no time to spare'. 

One resident said: "They haven't time to call in and have a chat with me, but they always talk to me when doing their jobs."

 

During a previous inspection in October 2013 the CQC had concluded ‘that people were not fully protected against the risks associated with medicines because the provider did not have appropriate arrangements in place to safely manage medicines within the home.’

Although Oaklands had assured the CQC that improvements would be made this latest inspection concluded that this had not happened.

The inspectors found medicines were not kept securely enough and that therefore ‘easy for unauthorised people to gain access to the medicines’.

They also found that medicines were not properly accounted for and so it was ‘impossible to tell whether they have been given correctly or whether any medicines are missing’.

They report states: “The health of people living in the home is placed at unnecessary risk of harm when medicines records are inaccurate.”

The care home must meet national standards in all area by Monday May 12 – and the CQC will re-inspect the home in the next few weeks to ensure this has happened.

Failure to comply could result in restriction of services or even closure.

The CQC can also issue financial penalty notices and cautions, or prosecute the provider for failing to meet national standards.

Oaklands Rest Home declined to comment on the CQC report at this time.

Image courtesy of SalFalko, with thanks.