'Significant weaknesses' in Bonnyrigg care home uncovered by watchdog

A private care home failed to provide social distancing and showed “significant weaknesses” in hygiene standards, despite being in the middle of the second Covid-19 lockdown.
Criticised by watchdog: Nazareth House in BonnyriggCriticised by watchdog: Nazareth House in Bonnyrigg
Criticised by watchdog: Nazareth House in Bonnyrigg

Toilets which were branded “not fit for purpose”, busy lounge areas with no social distancing and a failure to clean shared equipment between uses were all highlighted during an inspection of Nazareth House, Bonnyrigg.

A report by the Care Inspectorate said that weaknesses at the home “had the potential to increase the risk of transmission of infection and lead to poor outcomes for people living in this care service”.

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Inspectors, who carried out an unannounced visit last month, found a lack of social distancing in busy lounge areas, hand sanitising stations which were not clean or kept filled, and laundry items which were “not clean and also created a risk of cross-infection”.

Their report ruled: “People were not protected from the potential risk of infection as well as possible.”

It said: “We found some areas of the home to be in need of a deep clean.

“In particular, shared toilets, shower areas, handwashing facilities and personal care equipment, such as toilet risers, needed attention to reduce the potential risk of infection.”

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And its inspectors added that while social distancing was promoted during mealtimes, it “had not been considered in communal lounge areas, which were very busy at times”.

They said: “This meant people were not being supported to maintain a safe distance from each other. ”

The home received grades of 2, which are classed as ‘weak’, for its standard of care during the pandemic and residents’ experience of the facilities.

Nazareth House said that the findings of the inspectors were “deeply disappointing”.

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A spokesperson said: “As a care provider, our priority is always the care, wellbeing and health of our residents.

“In this time of the Covid pandemic, we are acutely aware of the need to protect our residents, staff and visitors.

“At Nazareth House, Bonnyrigg, we work hard to maintain the highest standards of infection prevention and control, and to ensure people are kept in a safe, clean and welcoming environment.

“We are especially proud that in our fight against Covid-19, we have had no related deaths in the home.

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“We are deeply disappointed, therefore, that the latest care inspection found some weaknesses in our provision.

“Immediate and decisive action has been taken to remedy the shortcomings identified, for example by making sure social distancing is implemented properly and doubling the number of hand sanitisers available.

“We are also going ahead as quickly as possible with planned and already-budgeted upgrading of equipment and refurbishment of different parts of the home.

“We are committed to carrying out the recommendations of the Care Inspectorate and will continue to monitor our performance intensively and take appropriate remedial action if and when problems arise.”

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The report acknowledged that the home had been undergoing refurbishment work prior to the Covid-19 outbreak and included among requirements an order that an update on the work and timescale planned was submitted to the Care Inspectorate.

The home is run by Nazareth Care Charitable Trust and has 37 residents.

The report acknowledged that refurbishment work had been carried out on two large lounge areas and a spacious dining area, where it said social distancing was maintained in a way which allowed people to interact while eating.

However, it said: “Social distancing had not been considered in the busy lounges areas.

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“Seating in the lounges and tables and chairs in the dining room needed to be cleaned properly to protect people from the risk of infection.”

And it added: “A number of toilets, and other areas for communal use, were not clean or fit for purpose, and in need of refurbishment.

“A refurbishment programme had been under way when Covid-19 struck and work stopped.

“We now expect the provider to review the outstanding work required to improve the environment and prioritise this.

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“We have made a requirement to ensure this work is actioned for the benefit of people living in Nazareth House.”

Morag Barrow, joint director of the Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said it was working with the home following the inspection.

She said: “We can confirm there are local authority funded residents at Nazareth House at present.

“However, whether the costs of staying at Nazareth are met by the local authority or privately makes no difference in that we expect private providers to offer the same standard of care to all residents.

“We are working with the Care Inspectorate to support the privately owned Nazareth House care home to ensure that all residents receive high-quality care.”