Watchdog blasts Midlothian care home over neglect and treating residents with lack dignity

The Bonnyrigg care home we previously exposed as being at the centre of two abuse probes has now been accused of stripping elderly residents of their dignity in a damning report placed before Holyrood.

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 7:01 pm
Updated Friday, 6th August 2021, 1:48 pm
OAPs were left in their rooms at the carehome

The shameful treatment of residents left in their rooms for long periods at Springfield Bank home was laid bare in a summary report by the Care Inspectorate on August 4.

It found elderly residents were left by themselves often in their rooms for large parts of the day, which the watchdog said demonstrated an ‘overall lack of respect for the care of people supported.’

Charity Age Scotland has branded the report “heart breaking” and called for deeply concerning findings to be acted on as a matter of urgency.

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Springfield Bank home judged as 'weak' by inspectors

Inspectors found there were no records kept of how much residents had eaten or drank in their rooms and people who were cared for in their rooms couldn’t tell staff if they were hungry or thirsty.

Further concerns were raised about residents who had lost weight not being monitored and people who experienced distress, depression or anxiety were not given the right support.

Relatives told of how children and grandchildren were not allowed in together with family members because the home only permits one designated visitor for each person, despite national open care guidance allowing a minimum of two visitors.

Staff at the privately run home – which has been hit with a string of upheld complaints over inadequate care since 2018 – were found to be ‘well-meaning’.

But people's requests were often ignored as staff were too busy, prompting major concerns that this ‘didn’t reflect dignified care’.

The watchdog found ‘significant deficits’ in permanent staff as well as gaps in domestic staff that could prevent effective infection prevention.

The home, where nearly a third of residents died from Covid-19 at the height of the pandemic, was judged to be ‘weak’ in all but one category.

On infection prevention it scored ‘adequate’ though staff didn’t always wash hands at meals or support social distancing.

Managers have been requested to make a number of significant improvements by 30 September.

Age Scotland Chief Executive Brian Sloan said: “The contents of this report are extremely disappointing and concerning. Care homes have undoubtedly faced severe challenges during the pandemic, but the rights of residents and their access to the appropriate level of care should never be in question. There is no doubt that the quality of care should be much better than this.

“It’s vital that residents are treated with dignity and respect and that their quality of life is considered the top priority and at the centre of the home’s work.

“It’s heart-breaking to hear of some residents at the home experiencing significant periods of isolation, as we know this can have a hugely detrimental impact to both mental and physical health and wellbeing.

“For the sake of all residents and those affected, we need reassurance that the findings of this report, as well as previous complaints, are being acted upon as a matter of urgency."

Health chiefs at Midlothian council said all complaints of potential abuse are investigated – but they refused for the second time since July – to confirm when investigations will be concluded. Owners previously denied any abuse had taken place.

A Midlothian HSCP spokesman said: "Specialist staff from the Health and Social Care Partnership continue to work with, and have the full co-operation of, Springfield Bank Care Home, a private care provider. HSCP staff are supporting staff and management to address all the requirements outlined in the recent Care Inspectorate report within the required timescales. Any adult protection concerns are fully investigated in line with Adult Support and Protection legislation."

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: "Summary reports of our inspections are laid before Parliament every two weeks. Full reports detailing all the findings from each inspection, including any requirements for improvement, will be published in due course.

"If we are not satisfied that the improvements we require are being met and sustained we will not hesitate to take further action."

The care home operator was contacted for comment.

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