Care Home’s Owner Appeals Against Decision To Close It Down

THE OWNER of an elderly care home which was forced by a court to shut down has appealed against the decision.

Acorn Lodge Residential Home, in Northampton Road, Harborough, was closed last month after social care watchdog the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) obtained an urgent court order from Leicester Magistrates’ Court.

The move came following a CSCI report which said deteriorating standards at the home had given their inspectors ‘serious concerns about the threat posed to the safety and welfare of residents’ and after the arrest of two staff members on suspicion of ill-treatment and neglect.

However Steve Clarke, who has owned the home for ten years and who also runs The Copperfield Hotel next door, said he feels the authorities acted ‘disproportionately’.

He has lodged an official appeal against the decision with the First-tier Tribunal (Care Standards) – an independent body which will hear representations from both parties before deciding whether to uphold the closure.

The Mail was unable to contact Mr Clarke this week, but in a statement issued shortly after the closure on December 1, he said: “Our staff and residents have been excellent and we cannot thank them enough for their support which we believe will be rewarded when the full facts are known and properly before the courts.

“We feel that the authorities have acted disproportionately and have failed to take into account the feelings of the residents, their families and the positive action taken by us.”

The home came under CSCI scrutiny in September last year, when a scheduled inspection saw it receive only a one star rating – meaning standards were ‘adequate’.

They ordered a number of improvements, including increased staff cover, better training and improved storage and management of medication.

However a whistleblowing member of staff prompted inspectors to return to the home in November, when further investigations revealed that standards had deteriorated.

The report said some areas of the home were dirty, nutritional needs of residents were not being met, staff were not properly trained in administering medication or lifting and records were not being kept properly.

Two female members of staff, aged 40 and 25, were arrested on suspicion of ill-treatment and wilful neglect and released on police bail pending further inquiries.

And, following consultation with Leicestershire County Council’s Adult Social Care Service, the CSCI obtained the court order and all 12 residents were moved to other care homes in the area.

The First-tier Tribunal (Care Standards) said a date for the hearing would be set later this month.