Watchdogs raise ‘serious concerns’ over care home

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Social work watchdogs have raised “serious concerns” over the quality of care at a home for the elderly.

Tyneholm Stables in Pencaitland was served with a formal improvement notice after a surprise inspection by the Care Inspectorate.

The report, which said there had been a “failure of management”, raised 12 areas of concerns that must be improved including nutrition, medicine management and fluid intake. Tyneholm Stables, which can care for up to 62 people and provides dementia, palliative, nursing and residential care, now has just weeks to make the improvements to the service.

Inspectors found there was little information in residents’ care plans about their wishes and preferences in end of life care.

In some cases, “do not resuscitate” instructions were stored in different places leaving staff at risk of resuscitating someone who had asked not to be.

The inspectorate also found staff failed to document whether residents were losing weight each month.

In one case, a relative reported a bad odour in a resident’s room, but nothing was done about it as the message was not passed on.

Dr Jean Turner of the Scotland Patients Association said: “This sounds like a nightmare from the point of view of an older person.

“It sounds like there are a lot of areas that need to be improved. Lots of people observe things that are not perfect in care homes, but it’s difficult for the ordinary person to say anything.

“That’s why it’s good that the Care Inspectorate is there to ensure that standards are high.

“All inspections should be unannounced, it’s the only way you get an idea of what’s really going on.”

The care home must now submit an action plan addressing the concerns within the coming weeks or risk having its registration revoked.

A spokesman for the Care Inspectorate said: “An unannounced inspection of this service raised serious concerns.

“Everyone in Scotland has the right to safe, compassionate care which meets their needs and respects their rights.

“Where we have concerns we do not hesitate to take action.

“Our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of residents and this improvement notice sets out what we expect the service to do to ensure that the care provided to residents improves.”

A spokesman for operator European Care Group said: “The health and wellbeing of the people we support is our number one priority.

“We continue to work closely with both the Care Inspectorate and East Lothian Council to ensure we address the areas raised.”