Is this Norfolk’s worst care home? - Residents left in soiled beds, feeling unsafe and without adequate personal care at The Laurels in Attleborough
PUBLISHED: 16:34 29 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:18 06 July 2017
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2015
Elderly people feeling unsafe, relatives worried about their loved ones, and a poor quality of care.
This is the picture at a Norfolk care home, which could be the worst in the county.
The Laurels in Attleborough was first put into special measures by regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in September 2016.
But a report released in March this year showed a whole host of improvements had not been made, making the Laurels one of the only care homes in the county rated as inadequate by inspectors.
Another home, The Lodge, in Thetford, has been the second in the county rated inadequate but this has since closed.
The CQC report - include in full below - detailed a litany of failures at the home but some of the most shocking stories came from residents, relatives and staff themselves.
One resident told inspectors they felt unsafe at night because some people had gone into their room.
“It’s frightening waking up and seeing them in my room,” they said. “I lock myself in at night.”
Another said they had been told by staff that they upset everyone, and added: “I’ve been happy here, but I don’t feel safe now.”
Relatives also said they had been a change.
“It’s changed a lot since [my family member] has been here,” one said. “There are more people with dementia and you can’t stop them coming into [family member’s] room. They shout a lot and it’s upsetting [family member].”
Another said they felt staff were unable to ensure their wife’s safety as other residents “trespass and come into [my wife’s] room”. They added: “They take [my wife’s] clothes and I don’t know what else they do.”
Inspectors also saw two people who were regularly being verbally abused by other people living in the home.
Their report said: “One person who had a cold and was coughing was regularly told they were ‘useless, dirty, disgusting and horrible’ by one person and told to ‘shut up’ on several occasions by another. Another person who was regularly calling out was told numerous times to ‘shut up’ and ‘be quiet’ by other people.”
Staffing at the home was also reported to be a problem, with five out of the six residents inspectors spoke to saying this was an issue.
One said: “There are not enough people around. They are losing a lot of staff. I don’t know why, but there is not enough staff to cope.”
They added there was often a delay in replying to their call bell, or that staff would come in and switch it off, but forget to come back. Another person said, “There are not enough staff to do everything. They don’t have time to sit and talk.”
Relatives agreed, although pointed out that they felt staff were doing their best.
One said: “There seems to be a high turnover of staff at the moment and there’s not enough to get [family member] up.”
Another relative said: “They’re short of staff. I see different ones each day.”
Staff themselves also admitted they sometimes felt residents were not safe due to staffing levels and personal care needs couldn’t be met.
One member of staff described the level of care as a “disgrace”.
The CQC report said: “Two staff when asked, also said they did not have time to provide people with adequate personal care. Three staff told us that they had recently found people wet or unclean in their rooms.”
This lack of staff was evidenced when inspectors heard a person shouting for help but no staff were in the area. They told inspectors they wanted to move from their chair to their bed and inspectors had to seek out a senior member of staff.
The next day, inspectors again heard the person shouting for help and found they were visibly distressed and crying. Again, no staff were visible and inspectors themselves had to ask for the manager.
Between December 12, 2016 and January 1, 2017, nearly half of the time there were not the required staffing levels.
The report said: “During our observations around the home, we saw that three people’s call bells were out of their reach. This resulted in them having to cry out for assistance when it was required which was not dignified.”
Another person was seen sitting on their bed with their hips fully exposed as their trousers were falling down. Their door was open and this was only corrected when the manager was alerted by an inspector.
Other worries here included residents being told about other people’s personal care, and that other people were “demanding” and “difficult”.
Confidential records had also been left outside their door in a communal area.
Inspectors saw people wearing stained and unclean clothes, and on both days of the visit a top sheet was stained with food. Staff told inspectors they often found people in wet or soiled beds.
Since January, the home was banned from admitting any new people by the CQC, and another inspection is expected soon.
A spokesman for The Laurels said: “We are naturally disappointed by the results of the latest CQC inspection report following the inspection on January 10 and 13, 2017.
“As part of our ongoing improvements the company has now added a new management team and with outside professional advice. The company feels we have met the required levels of improvements to move forward, we are expecting an inspection by July 10, 2017.
“The safety and welfare of our residents is, and always will be, our number one priority and we are working hard to make improvements in all areas of our business.
“All staff are going through thorough re-training, staff levels are being addressed and we are introducing improved monitoring systems for individual’s medication, food and drink.
“Furthermore, a highly-experienced, registered manager was appointed in mid-January to assist in driving change and improvements at the care home to instil governance and leadership.
“We are actively working with the Care Quality Commission during this period in special measures. We would like to reassure the families of our residents, as well as families of prospective residents, that we are working extremely hard to deliver an improved safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led service.”