Elderly were ‘illegally restrained’ by staff at failing care home

Residents were “illegally restrained” by nursing staff at a care home, according to an inspection report.

An investigation was launched after concerns were raised over an elderly resident’s wellbeing at Mowat Court nursing home in Stonehaven.

It is understood the form of restraint used did not relate to physical abuse, but incidents where residents were being prevented from getting out of their beds.

Care Inspectorate workers visited the home three times during March to investigate the claims, including one by a 
dementia sufferer.

Inspectors rated the unit at grade one – the lowest mark possible – in an inspection by healthcare chiefs in June this year. Service given at the Care UK-run home was said to be “unsatisfactory” due to the quality of care and support and management on offer.

Inspectors said in a report: “There is overwhelming 
evidence that service users, including the named service user, have been inappropriately and illegally restrained.”

The home also fell short on nine other aspects of care in a 16-page complaint file. Failure to ensure prescribed medication was “efficiently administered”, failure to protect from falls, “insufficient staffing” and failure to treat residents with “dignity and respect” were all highlighted points in the report.

It was further noted that 
patients were not being 
adequately supported at meal times.

The report added: “We observed care practices and examined records which evidenced very poor care practices in relation to restraint and the administration of medication.

“All of these activities are examples of care staff treating service users in an undignified and disrespectful manner.

“There is sufficient evidence to substantiate the allegation made by the complaint that care staff were not treating service users in a dignified and respectful manner.”

The Care Inspectorate instructed nursing home managers to turn its performance around in a month.

Frances Gibson, Care UK’s director of nursing, said: “We accept that the standard of care delivered to the people living at this home did fall below the high standards that we demand and the residents and their relatives deserve. I would like to express my regret that this 

“As soon as the situation became apparent, we made substantial changes to the management team at the home to implement a comprehensive improvement programme.

“The regional director has taken personal responsibility for ensuring those improvements are made quickly and effectively.

“We are working closely with the Care Inspectorate to ensure that the care provided at Mowat Court meets and exceeds all the inspectorate’s standards and 
we are confident that these measures will be recognised by improved ratings soon.”

A Care Inspectorate spokesman said: “Our priority is to ensure that people who use care services, who often are among the most vulnerable in society, are properly supported and receive good quality care.”

“A vital part of our work is to investigate complaints or concerns about the quality of care in any service.”

The Care Inspectorate added that a follow-up inspection found that the care home had improved its service and said progress continued to be 
“closely monitored”.