Inspectors Slam Cumbrian Nursing Home For Putting Old Folk ‘At Risk’

A Cumbrian nursing home has received a damning report from inspectors, saying it is putting old folk “at risk.” They gave Barrock Court, at Low Hesket, a no-star rating following a surprise visit and told bosses they must take action to improve services.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection revealed that the home is failing vital health and safety standards – on three occasions allowing staff to start working there before they had been officially cleared.

Incorrect administration of medicines, poor staff training and a lack of anything meaningful for residents to do were also among the criticisms.

Barrack Court is a private home that can accommodate up to 30 people. It charges up to £651 a week, and Cumbria County Council pays the bill for 21 of its residents.

Inspectors made a surprise visit in September because they were worried about the results of a survey sent out to staff, residents and relatives. After looking at the way medicines were administered the CSCI called in a specialist pharmacist inspector. They also found that medical records were confusing and inaccurate, leaving residents “at risk from errors that could seriously damage their health”.

On occasions lunchtime medication was skipped because the morning dosage had been given out too late.

Some medicines were missing and could not be accounted for, stocks of others were too high when compared against the amounts that should have been given out.

Inspectors looked at the files of three new employees and discovered they had been allowed to start work before they had been cleared to work with vulnerable adults.

Staff had not received formal supervision for 14 months – even though the exercise is supposed to take place every eight weeks. The manager of the home, who has since left, admitted a lot of staff training was out of date.

Residents said life at Barrock Court is boring and inspectors agreed, despite the fact that an activities co-ordinator was employed for 15 hours a week.

The co-ordinator kept a daily diary of activities that she had supported people to take part in. Her entries included smoking, eating chocolate, having a cup of tea, watching television, sleeping and being in a comfortable chair.

Inspectors did find evidence of one event – a ‘pyjama day’. Proceeds went into the ‘residents fund’ which was raising money for a gazebo to give shelter in the courtyard for smokers.

The CSCI also found that the home was in need of maintenance and a lack of directions to some areas, including the lounge, meant some residents struggled to find their way around. Most of the doors that had a bathroom sign on them led to storerooms.

The CSCI did praise the home for its relationships with outside agencies and the kind and helpful nature of its staff. Its admissions procedure was rated as good.

A county council spokesman said the CSCI report had not been taken lightly and that an action plan had been put in place.

Barrock Court is an Aermid Health nursing home. The company was unable to comment on the situation.