Belfast Telegraph

Another facility run by firm at centre of Dunmurry Manor care home scandal failed to meet basic standards

Clifton Nursing Home in north Belfast
Clifton Nursing Home in north Belfast

By Lisa Smyth

The company at the centre of the Dunmurry Manor scandal has come under fire after it emerged another one of its facilities is failing to meet basic standards.

An inspection of Clifton Nursing Home in north Belfast at the end of June uncovered a litany of shocking failures, leaving some of the most vulnerable people in society at risk of serious harm.

Among the issues raised by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) were:

  • A shortage of cloths, mop heads, gloves, patient wipes, washing-up liquid and disinfectant
  • Six fire doors wedged open
  • Residents sharing net underwear and socks
  • Staff reported difficulties raising concerns with management
  • Residents enduring delays for assistance due to staff shortages
  • Issues relating to the fluid intake of a resident
  • No proper care plan for a resident with advanced dementia
  • Settings on pressure relieving mattresses incorrectly set
  • and risk assessments were not being carried out properly.

The inspection report said: "Staff who met with the inspector discussed the challenges that they faced regarding being able to raise concerns within the home.

"This was communicated to senior management for Runwood Homes for them to address."

It continued: "A review of fluid management records in the case of one patient evidenced that on two consecutive days the prescribed fluid target for the patient had not been met.

"There was no evidence of remedial action taken to address this deficit.

"Observations in the laundry area and linen stores evidenced that 'net pants' and socks were being laundered and used communally in the home.

"A review of communal areas were noted to have not been effectively maintained throughout the home.

"Communal bathrooms, in one unit of the home, evidenced hygiene deficits.

"Concerns were also raised with the inspector regarding the adequacy of provision of domestic cleaning products and equipment.

"A review of stock on both days did validate these concerns. There was also an insufficient supply of consumable products including cloths, mop heads, gloves, patient wipes, washing up liquid and disinfectant."

The inspector was so worried by what he saw at Clifton Nursing Home that he ordered management to attend an urgent meeting with the regulator within a matter of days.

An RQIA spokesman said: "In early July, RQIA met with the management of this home, who acknowledged the failings identified, and provided RQIA with comprehensive detail of the actions taken to address our concerns.

"The safety and well-being of every patient at Clifton Nursing Home is of paramount importance to RQIA, and we will continue to monitor the quality of care at this service on an ongoing basis."

However, the findings are even more alarming given that they came almost 12 months after Runwood Homes put in place a new management team to drive up standards across the company's Northern Ireland homes.

The measure was implemented after the RQIA took the unprecedented step of shutting another Runwood home, Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen, over a serious risk to residents' lives.

The failings at Clifton Care Home also came to light just weeks after the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland revealed the findings of his investigation into conditions at Dunmurry Manor.

In a devastating verdict, Eddie Lynch branded the care at the home degrading and inhuman, while the police this week launched a criminal investigation into conditions at the home.

Aidan Hanna from NI Patient Voice said it was shocking that the RQIA did not impose conditions on Clifton Care Home given the findings of the latest inspection.

"Staff from Dunmurry Manor have told how their concerns were ignored, so it isn't good enough that we're now hearing that staff at another Runwood home have been facing similar challenges," he said.

"While the RQIA has obviously carried out a very thorough inspection, it is alarming and disappointing that yet again Runwood Homes are being given an opportunity to address issues that shouldn't be arising in the first place."

The RQIA inspection in June is not the first time conditions at Clifton Care Home were called in to question. It was banned from taking new residents in 2015 after it failed to act on repeated warnings about practices, including inappropriate restraint of vulnerable residents.

A Runwood Homes spokeswoman said concerns raised in June were dealt with at the time and a subsequent inspection, last week, gave the home a "completely clean bill of health".

She added that an independent HR clinic has said that staff are happy with the new management team.

Belfast Telegraph

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