Catalogue of care failings uncovered in Leeds

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More than two thirds of recently inspected Leeds care homes have been rated as inadequate or requiring improvement by a health watchdog.

Serious concerns have been raised after a recent batch of Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections revealed some Leeds facilities were failing to report abuse or alleged abuse correctly to the regulator, were putting residents at risk of infection and failed to consistently maintain their dignity.

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 care home inspections in the city.

A trio of reports released by 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.”

Peter Hodkinson, chairman of Leeds Care Association, which represents independent care homes in the city, said they are fully committed to driving up standards of care and so are supportive of the CQC’s “new, more demanding assessment framework which encourages homes to continuously improve”.

He said: “Leeds residents shouldn’t be worried about the results of the latest inspections, rather be encouraged that they are provided with the information they need in order to make an informed decision when choosing a care home for a relative. In other words, it’s now easier to spot, through the information available, a good, adequate or poor care service.”

Work underway to correct issues highlighted at poor performing Leeds homes

The three latest Leeds homes to be criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have been urged to act quickly.

Overall Amber Lodge was deemed inadequate, particularly in how safe, effective and caring it was, while the responsiveness and leadership at the home required improvement.

A spokeswoman for the home, run by Meridian Healthcare Ltd, said a range of improvements have already been made as part of a “robust action plan”. She said: “The wellbeing, safety and health of each person we care for are our top priorities. We are deeply disappointed by the outcome of the CQC inspection which took place in January, and have since worked tirelessly to address all of the issues raised.”

Acre Green Nursing Home was also deemed inadequate, particularly in the safety, effectiveness and leadership of its care, while how caring and responsiveness the service was required improvement.

A spokeswoman for the St Andrew’s Care Group, which runs the facility, said the home takes the feedback seriously and “has been receiving continual senior level managerial support” while working with Leeds City Council, NHS commissioners and infection control to ensure improvements are put in place and maintained.

She said: “We are confident that significant progress has been made, that the home continues to be a safe and caring environment for the residents and that the actions that were immediately put in place will satisfy the CQC on a return inspection.”

The CQC ranked Oakhaven Care Home as inadequate overall, with its safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and leadership of care of particular concern, while it needed to improve on how caring its service was.

Brian Vincent, director of Eldercare Ltd, which runs the home, said: “We have made management changes at the home and have made significant improvements to the kitchen, which has already had a visit from environmental health who gave it a five-star rating. We’re working with the CQC and local Leeds contract team to ensure these issues are addressed properly and look forward to follow-up inspections.”

Leeds City Council has assured residents it is monitoring care homes and implementing checks, while working with the CQC and Healthwatch Leeds to add an extra layer to its work. They said where concerns are raised, they work closely with the home, including suspending new placements, until improvements are in place.