'It makes me sick it got that bad': Ex-staff member lifts lid on care home suddenly ordered to shut

PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:05 14 December 2018

Holmwood Care Home on Harvey Lane. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Holmwood Care Home on Harvey Lane. Photo: Sonya Duncan

Archant 2017

An ex-staff member has described appalling conditions at a care home which has been ordered to shut.

Holmwood Care Home on Harvey Lane has been shut by inspectors. Photo: Sonya DuncanHolmwood Care Home on Harvey Lane has been shut by inspectors. Photo: Sonya Duncan

On Wednesday Holmwood on Harvey Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, a home for adults with mental health issues, shut following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

One staff member said she walked out of the home last week in disgust at the lack of staff.

She said concerns she raised with management were ignored, adding: “The staff were doing their jobs but how can two people look after 28 people, especially when some are challenging or incontinent?”

The ex-staff member added that washing machines did not work which meant when inspectors visited there was a pile of dirty sheets.

She also said mattresses were “stained and disgusting,” while there was no fire escape on the top floor of the building.

“The home had one cleaner during the day and although he worked hard he couldn’t possibly clean a home that big to a good standard,” she said.

The staff member, who has worked in the industry for 27 years, added: “I know what the CQC expects and it makes me sick it got that bad.”

Baytree Community Care (London) Ltd which runs the home has not responded to requests for comment.

Another care worker, who visited the home regularly as part of her job, said it had deteriorated after two senior managers left last year.

“I noticed it started to smell of urine,” she said. “Standards had gone down and there were fewer staff members.”

On Tuesday when she visited she saw staff members crying.

“You could see residents moving out,” she said.

“I spoke to one chap who said he had lived there for many years.

“Over the years it has been a really nice place.”

The home was rated “good” by the CQC last year before they returned last month.

A CQC spokesman confirmed inspectors visited Holmwood on November 26 and December 6 following concerns raised by Norfolk County Council.

The county council, which placed residents at the home, said the closure notice was issued due to “serious concerns about the quality of the accommodation and the care provided”.

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