Colwyn Bay care home criticised

A CARE home for people with mental health difficulties has been criticised for not ensuring its patients have a high standard of living.

Arden Towers on Greenfield Road in Colwyn Bay cares for people with mental health problems aged between 18 and 63, and has been criticised in a report following an inspection by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSIIW).

The report published last month raises several issues of concern, including quality of staffing and support levels, health and safety issues, and states some patients spent considerable time in isolation.

It also states areas of the building smell of cigarette smoke and urine.

The report also stated there were insufficient staff numbers at the home.

Other issues raised include patients not having their dignity maintained – people using the service were spotted walking around in their nightwear without a dressing gown.

Patients with continence problems were also not managed sufficiently.

One man who had recently visited the home didn’t want to be named but said: “The report on Arden Towers is a sad reflection of what some care homes are like.

“I wanted to highlight this place because of what I had seen inside when I visited.”

The home was told by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales that it must improve hygiene in individual rooms, put a proper recruitment system in place and improve ventilation.

The home is privately owned and run by Gerald Jay Ashley, who yesterday was not available for comment.

A spokeswoman for Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales commented: “Responding to concerns, CSSIW carried out unannounced inspection visits to Arden Towers on November 16 and December 6.

“These highlighted a number of failings and non-compliance notices were issued.

“CSSIW is monitoring the home’s progress in addressing failings and will take further action if compliance with regulations is not achieved.”

Jay Ashley, owner-manager of Arden Towers and a Registered Mental Nurse with a degree in Psychiatric Nursing, said: “We are disappointed as this is the first adverse report we have received in the ten years I have been at Arden Towers.

“We do take these matters very seriously and will be working with the Care & Social Services Inspectorate Wales to address the issues raised but I would take issue with a number of the report’s findings.

 “Smoking is restricted to a single room which is properly ventilated while we have just one resident with incontinence issues.

“In addition we have 17 full and part-time staff to 19 residents and have been in the process of taking on additional employees.

“We recently gained a five-star rating from Conwy County Council’s Environmental Health department and we also run a full programme of activities for our residents who range in age from 30 to 75 and all of whom have mental health issues.

“In previous years we have taken residents on holidays overseas to Tenerife and Cyprus and in the last 12 months they have been to Cheltenham and Blackpool, while there are weekly trips to the cinema and for meals out as well as creative writing, arts and crafts, photography, gardening and even five-a-side football.

“We canvass the opinions of our residents regularly and they have recently expressed an interest in a holiday to Malta this spring which we are in the process of arranging.”