Inspectors blast Inverness care home

AN INVERNESS care home has suspended admissions following a threat of closure due to its failure to improve standards of care for residents.

Kingsmills Nursing Home, which recently received a scathing report from the Care Commission, has now been issued with a formal improvement notice from the regulatory body after failing to meet a number of requirements.

The improvement was slapped on the care home which can accommodate 60 residents after an unannounced “high intensity inspection” raised a string of concerns and a report was published.

Inspectors found:

  • A bath chair which had been left soiled.
  • The only shower room in the care home has been out of use since January as the shower chair was broken.
  • Areas of the building had offensive odours.
  • Several wheelchairs were dirty and stained with dried food.
  • Medication was found on the floor in the lounge and on bedside tables and the controlled drug cupboard was unlocked and unattended.
  • One service user did not receive their medication all day.

The nursing home, which is owned by Four Seasons Health Care (Scotland) Ltd now has until August 8 to meet standards regarding staff numbers, hygiene and personal care plans for residents or Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS), formally known as the Care Commission, may move to cancel the home’s registration.

This week, the regulatory body told the HN it continues to have “serious concerns” about the quality of care provided at the facility in Kingsmills Park.

The improvement order states that a number of measures must be addressed by the home including: ensuring there are sufficient staff levels 24 hours a day to meet the needs of the service users and that it must employ sufficient staff to ensure the property is maintained in a clean and hygienic condition and there must be plans in place to cover annual leave or sickness.

It also stated the staff ensure all residents have a written personal plan in place which should be used to record how their health, welfare and safety needs are to be met and that these plans are implemented by staff.

Following the inspection the care provider voluntarily agreed to suspend admissions and as the HN went to press the care home was still not accepting new residents.

But despite the improvement order – a concerned daughter of a resident at the home – who we agreed not to name – fears it’s only “getting worse.”

She said: “I have had concerns for a few months about my mother’s care. The main one being about her personal hygiene. I don’t feel she is getting kept clean and she is unable to care for herself. It is so undignified to think she is not getting a basic human right met. It is very worrying that an improvement order has been issued. I have read the reports but the care home don’t seem to be responding to the criticisms. It gets worse year on year. It is very stressful, especially when you hear about what is going on with care homes around the country.

“I have spoken to other family members who have parents in the home and there are various concerns about staff turnover, but when someone cannot even be washed regularly there is something seriously wrong.”

She added: “I went to the meeting where the staff told us about the improvement order and myself and others raised various concerns, but we fear it is going to fall on deaf ears.”

A spokesman for Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) said: “SCSWIS continues to have serious concerns about the quality of care provided at Kingsmills Nursing Home. The service has received low grades at its last two inspections and – following the most recent inspection in March 2011 – we issued an Improvement Notice to ensure that these issues are addressed urgently.

“We have highlighted a number of improvements and have demanded the service implement these by the final deadline of August 8. If these improvements are not made by this date, we will have no option but to consider taking further action against the service, which could result in SCSWIS cancelling the its registration.”

He added: “We are currently working closely with the local authority and monitoring the service to ensure that improvements are made and maintained at Kingsmills Nursing Home and residents receive acceptable standards of care.”

A spokeswoman for Four Seasons Health Care (Scotland) Ltd said: “Each room has en-suite toilet and wash-basin. Most residents need assistance with bathing and showering. There are five bathrooms with bath and shower attachments and two walk-in shower rooms. Residents are helped to bath or shower at frequencies according to their personal choice. If they so choose, they are helped to do so daily.

“However, most residents choose a full bath or shower two or three times a week, with help in washing on other days. It is entirely according to their preference.”

She added: “Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland issued an improvement notice on the home in May. The home has put in place an action plan and has addressed all of the improvement requirements. The home manager has only been in place since February but she is very experienced and is currently being supported by an experienced peripatetic manager; additional domestic staff have been recruited; monitoring and record keeping systems have been improved; there has been refresher training for staff particularly in areas of documenting procedures.”

What the high intensity inspection found:

The report carried out by Care Commission, which is now Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS), was published after the latest unannounced inspection took place on March 31.

It highlights worrying basic hygiene problems within the home, including a bath chair which had been left soiled.

It states: “We found in general cleanliness of some areas of the premises to be of a poorer standard than at the last inspection visit (December 2010). For example on the first day of the unannounced inspection in the late morning the dining rooms had not been cleaned from breakfast time and were generally untidy, one of the bath chairs was soiled and had not been cleaned, there were areas of the premises where there were strong, offensive odours and several wheelchairs were visibly dirty and stained with dried food.”

The report, under the Quality of Environment section, also stated that there is only one shower room for 60 residents.

It said: “The only shower room in the care home, for 60 people, has been out of use since January as the shower chair was broken. The lack of availability of the shower for this period of time was not acceptable, denied service users’ choice and should be rectified as soon as possible. The service should consider increasing the number of shower facilities available to people who use the service.”

The administration and storing of medications was also criticised.

It states: “Small plastic bags containing medication for return to pharmacy highlighted that medication was found by staff on several occasions for example on the floor, in the lounge and on bedside tables.

“The controlled drug cupboard was found to be unlocked and unattended during the inspection which was poor practice and should be addressed. One sample highlighted that one service user did not receive their medication all day.”