Norfolk care home still failing its patients, say inspectors

A West Norfolk care home is still not meeting basic standards in a range of areas from patient dignity to making sure residents eat and drink properly.

Shouldham Hall, between King's Lynn and Downham Market, is subject to frequent inspections from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after enforcement action was taken earlier this year when inspectors found a raft of problems.

But the latest report, published in September, said the home had continued to fail to meet standards in six of the seven key areas under scrutiny.

The report, which reflects an inspection carried out in May, said the home was not safeguarding residents from potential abuse –which had a 'major impact' on them.

But the home has made improvements since the inspection, according to Norfolk County Council, and is currently meeting the goals of an action plan.

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'The home is still voluntarily not taking new admissions and this will continue to be the case until they and we are satisfied that all the necessary improvements have been made, said Debbie Olley, assistant director in Norfolk County Council's community services department.

The council is working with the home, which has around 50 residents, and relatives of patients to ensure they are happy with the care offered.

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'The Care Quality Commission has been working closely with its partner agencies in relation to Shouldham Hall Nursing Home in Norfolk. We are taking action to protect the welfare of people using this service,' said a spokesman for the CQC.

A spokesman at Shouldham Hall said they were working closely with the CQC in a bid to resolve the outstanding areas of concern.

The inspectors were told during the May visit that a wheelchair strap was used to secure a person in a dining chair or armchair to stop them falling out.

The report says the 'inappropriate restraint' endangered the patient's rights and could present health risks.

'Other staff we spoke with were not aware that there was anything wrong with using these measures and had not seen the practice as abusive. This calls into question staff understanding of safeguarding,' it says.

The manager took immediate action.

Inspectors also said the home was failing to meet nutritional needs with a patient who needed help with their meal interrupted when the carer left them unattended and another person clearly struggling to eat until noticed by a care worker.

Four people were still in bed in the late morning and when records were checked, one patient had taken no food for 16.5 hours and no fluid for 14.5 hours. The inspection also saw staff records saying residents had eaten or drunk when they had not.

'People were not protected against the risks of inadequate nutrition and dehydration,' says the report.

Patients were also found not to be receiving their drugs at the right times.

'When we arrived for the inspection the morning medicine round was under way. We noted this was not completed until 11.30am and therefore medicines scheduled for 8am to 9am were being given later than prescribed,' the report says.

The home failed to respect and involve patients; meet care and welfare standards; meet nutritional needs; safeguard patients from abuse; meet standards of medicine management and accessing and monitoring the quality of service.

It did meet requirements on cleanliness and infection control.

'During this inspection we found that there had been significant improvements,' says the report.

The hall is owned by Holly Care which brought in new management after issues were first highlighted.

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