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Watchdog calls for urgent improvements at Merstham nursing home
12:00pm Wednesday 31st October 2012 in Local News
Urgent improvements have been called for at a Merstham nursing home after a watchdog uncovered failings there including residents wearing dirty clothes, having unwashed hair and long, dirty fingernails.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said its unannounced inspection at The Barn House in Quality Street in August also found a toilet door visible from a communal corridor had been left open while the toilet was in use.
The CQC said some people told its inspectors that their choices, such as when to take a bath or have a hot drink, were being restricted by the routines at the home. The watchdog said it had issued a formal warning to the providers, Mr and Mrs P Gungaloo, that the Barn House was failing to protect the safety and welfare of residents there, and they must make urgent improvements.
In a statement, the CQC said its inspectors found people in the home were not always being supported to maintain their personal appearance. “Some people wore dirty, stained or frayed clothes, and some had unwashed hair and long, dirty fingernails,” it said. “Inspectors observed a number of incidents in which inappropriate moving and handling techniques were used. “These presented a risk of distress, discomfort or injury to people in the home.”
The CQC statement continued: “A number of people spoken to said they had not been involved in choices about their care. “Care plans did not evidence that people had been asked what they wanted, and where a specific request had been made by a resident, this had not been recorded. “ The Barn House is a care home caring for people over 65 with services and specialisms for people with dementia, mental health conditions, physical disabilities and people whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.
It can accommodate 30 residents in 26 single and four shared rooms.
No-one at The Barn House was available for comment when Life contacted the nursing home.
Ian Biggs, deputy director of CQC in the South, said: “We check the standards of quality and safety in care that the law says everyone should be able to expect.”
He said: “These standards exist to protect people who cannot always speak up for themselves from being put at risk of harm. Providers have a duty to be compliant.
“People living in care homes are entitled to have their privacy and dignity respected by those taking care of them, and it is disappointing to see that basic courtesy did not come as standard practice in this home.”
He continued: “Our inspectors will return in the near future to carry out another unannounced inspection. “If we find that the home is not making the required progress we won’t hesitate to use our legal powers further to protect the people who live there.”
The CQC's inspection took place as part of a national programme looking at dignity and nutrition for older people living in care homes.
A full report on the national inspection programme will be published in due course.
The CQC is the independent regulator of health and social care in England, and if required improvements it calls for are not made by the required deadline, it has a range of enforcement powers which include restricting the services that a provider can offer, or, in the most serious cases, suspending or cancelling a service. The CQC can also issue financial penalty notices and cautions or prosecute the provider for failing to meet essential standards.
Any regulatory decision that the CQC takes is open to challenge by a registered person through a variety of internal and external appeal processes.