Pictures show horrendous conditions at Lowestoft care home
11:13 22 March 2014
These are the shocking scenes that led to the closure of a Lowestoft care home and prompted a mass inspection of other homes across Waveney.
The pictures were among those taken at the Orme House Residential Care Home in Kirkley Cliff Road, which was closed in 2012 amid concerns for the welfare of its elderly residents.
Fifteen people – all aged over 65 – had to be moved out of Orme House when an inspection by Waveney District Council found excrement on walls and doors, mattresses and bed linen heavily stained with excrement and urine, mould growing in bedrooms, and a number of fire safety breaches.
After the inspection at the home, run by Essex-based Anglia Care Homes Ltd, further food and safety checks were carried out by Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district councils at 53 other care homes in the area.
That mass inspection led to 46 improvement notices and 83 written warnings being issued to care home owners in Waveney and Suffolk Coastal.
Tod Sullivan, leader of Waveney’s opposition Labour group, said he had seen the report on Orme House and the subsequent inspections.
“I was shocked and sickened by the images I saw and the neglect which was uncovered,” he said. “I can only imagine how I would feel if a relative or loved one suffered in these conditions.
“We all have a responsibility to hold contractors to the same standards and to the same account that we would expect for our own care and that of those we love. None of us should avoid responsibility for identifying issues and making them known. I hope that staff, families and patients across Waveney feel able to come forward with concerns as quickly as possible and that our inspection teams have the resources to keep a close watch on our behalf.”
The 15 residents of Orme House were moved out of the home in early March 2012 and were found alternative accommodation following the visit by inspectors from Waveney’s food and safety team.
Health and safety improvement notices were then served on the owner of the home covering electrical safety, risk assessment, lifting equipment, control of hazardous substances, legionella controls and improvements to general management of health and safety.
The inspection led to police, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk fire service, a local safeguarding team and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) being called in to deal with a number of resulting issues.
Mary Rudd, Waveney’s portfolio holder for community health, said: “The primary responsibility for managing health and safety risks lies with the business who creates the risk.
“The role of officers from the food and safety team is to support, encourage, advise and where necessary hold to account business to ensure that businesses effectively manage the occupational health and safety risks they create.
“This case demonstrates that our officers worked closely with others to ensure that unsatisfactory conditions were promptly dealt with.”
Before the inspection by Waveney, Orme House had been inspected by the CQC in March 2011 and was found to be compliant in all areas reviewed.
In July 2012, following the home’s sudden closure, the CQC published a further report highlighting concerns over risks of infection, the health and safety of residents and staff and unsafe equipment – leading to enforcement notices being served.