AN Abergele care home is under investigation after inspectors found evidence of neglect, unsafe practice and poor conditions.
After a spot-check in December last year the Care Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) have called for urgent action by the owners of Amber House which was found to be non-compliant with regulations on 10 different points.
There is an ongoing inquiry under the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoVA) legislation involving two residents suffering from dementia.
The home, one of two owned by Larkfield Care Home Limited - the other is in Colwyn Bay - accommodates 24 elderly people, eight of whom may have dementia.
The inspection was carried out in response to concerns by a member of the public about a range of issues including recruitment, training, infection control, health and safety, poor monitoring of nutrition and lack of respect and dignity.
The registered manager at the time, Eleri Clarke, resigned two weeks after the inspection and the CSSIW expressed concern that her temporary successor was not suitably qualified, but it is understood that a new manager is now in place.
In their report the inspectors state: “As a consequence of this inspection (in December) there have been a number of Protection of Vulnerable Adult referrals made to the local authority in respect of neglect and safeguarding.”
The home was previously inspected in April, 2013, following which the owners spent £28,000 on refurbishing the ground floor, but the inspectors commented: “Despite this we are concerned that there has been such a significant deterioration in the provision of care and services.”
The report highlights failings under the headings Quality of Life, Staffing, Leadership and Management and Environment.
In the section under Quality of Life the inspectors say that overall the residents looked unclean and unkempt and were left unsupervised for long periods.
Residents were found wearing dirty, even torn clothes, and had food debris on their clothes and around their mouths. One person’s hair looked matted.
They state: “Continence is not managed effectively and as a result there is a strong smell of urine which people who live here have to endure....The care regime is not person-centred and people are not supported or encouraged to live a fulfilled life.”
On the subject of staffing, it is reported that although proper training had been given the staff did not always put their knowledge into practice and had “an attitude of apathy”.
Concern is expressed about the way that medication is administered, contravening the home’s policy and Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s guidelines.
The inspectors state there is no clear leadership and management, describing the registered persons as “disorganised”.
The home’s record-keeping and monitoring systems also come under fire and no action had been taken following the April, 2013, inspection to improve the management of complaints.
“The registered persons told us they monitor and audit medication, the kitchen, stock, care plans, the environment/maintenance but given the concerns identified during this inspection visit it is evident that improvements are needed in these area,” continues the report.
Under the heading of “Quality of Environment”, the inspectors say that although there has been some investment further improvements are needed.
They found staff making up three beds which were stained with faeces, carpets, bed linen and crockery were unclean and of poor quality and items of furniture were broken.
With only one exception staff did not wear protective clothing, and they did not follow good practice.
“The impact for people using the service is they may receive medication which is not their’s or in a safe manner because staff do not adhere to good practice guidelines,” says the report.
"People may feel they have little choice in how they are cared for because staff do not provide the fundamentals of care in a person-centred manner.
“People are at potential risk of infection due to infection control practices adopted by staff which contravene good practice guidelines.”
A spokeswoman for Conwy County Borough Council said: “The council is aware of matters at this privately owned care home and has intervened accordingly alongside CSSIW. As investigations are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
Bernice Jaumotte, the nominated representative of Larkfield Care Home Limited, said: “We have had a challenging period at Amber House and have taken every step within our means to respond positively to the last Care Standards report.
“Just recently, we have received a further inspection – which is standard – and we are hopeful of receiving a more positive response from the inspectors very shortly. Our priority is always the health and well-being of the people we look after and it is very much our intention for the home to continue to improve the care and service we provide.”