Serious concerns over welfare in Gillingham care home

A NEW Dorset nursing home has had to be closed to new admissions after serious concerns were raised about its standards of care.

A damning report from the Care Quality Commission reveals that its inspectors found Gillingham Grange, in Gillingham, north Dorset, was not meeting eight government standards required by law.

Among its failings were not giving people enough support to enable them to eat and drink what they needed, and not taking action when malnutrition was suspected.

Records in July showed that five residents had lost weight, with one man admitted for respite care losing around seven kilograms in 10 days after missing meals and being offered the wrong food.

Families of two people had started to come into the home to feed their relatives.

The report says the owners of the home, European Care (Gillingham) Limited, had failed to make sure there were enough staff on duty. Even after concerns were raised about the care and welfare of people in the home, they reduced staff further.

Other problems found during July and August included unsuitable equipment; a failure to recognise potential abuse or respond appropriately to allegations; and evidence of people’s health and wellbeing going downhill while in the home.

The latest of a series of unannounced visits last Friday found improvements had been made.

Gillingham Grange, which has 75 single bedrooms and 14 day care places, is being visited twice a week by Dorset County Council and the CQC continues to monitor the home to ensure its 12 residents are protected.

Ian Biggs, regional director of the CQC in the south west, admitted: “The standards of care we have found at Gillingham Grange were worrying.

“We saw several people who were mentally frail, but physically mobile, yet they were not always supervised and so were at risk.

“The failure to help people with their food and drink is alarming, but is even more disturbing when you consider that many of the residents are frail, vulnerable people who are the least able to draw attention to this.

“We will inspect again in the near future and if we find that the home is not making progress we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers on behalf of the people who live there.”

A statement from the European Care Group, which runs Gillingham Grange, said: “The group acknowledges receipt of the notices from the Care Quality Commission.

“All the issues raised are either addressed or are part of a well-advanced programme (which has been shared with all public authorities) to ensure the safety and welfare of residents.”

It said the group was the fifth largest provider of social care in the UK, looking after 4,500 people.