Belfast Telegraph

Care home staff 'bought own cleaning products to maintain facility'

Runwood workers also claim they ‘refused to falsify documents’

By Lisa Smyth

Staff at a home owned by the company at the centre of the Dunmurry Manor scandal had to buy cleaning products themselves, it can be revealed.

Northern Ireland's health regulator discovered a shocking lack of domestic cleaning products during a visit to Clifton Nursing Home in north Belfast earlier this year.

Minutes of a meeting between the watchdog and a representative from Runwood Homes after the inspection also show that residents' clothes were cleaned in just water, as there was no detergent.

It highlighted the stress and pressure being experienced by domestic staff, who also carried out caring duties as well as cleaning the facility.

The staff also revealed they "had refused to falsify documentation to reflect that work had been completed when it hadn't".

While findings of the inspection were provided in the subsequent Regulation & Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) report, the document did not provide the level of detail that has now come to light.

The minutes come from a meeting between Runwood Homes and the RQIA on July 4 this year to discuss issues identified during an inspection of Clifton Nursing Home on June 26 and 27.

The minutes read: "The provision of domestic cleaning products and equipment was raised by staff.

"Domestic staff advised that there was a complete inadequate provision of supplies to effectively maintain the required standard of cleanliness needed in the home.

"A review of stock on both days did not provide assurances that a sufficient supply of products was provided to clean the home and that there was also insufficient supply of gloves and patient wipes.

"Staff advised the inspector that on a weekly basis they purchased their own cleaning products to help maintain the home.

"Staff also advised that on occasions there has been a lack of detergent to wash patient clothes and therefore clothes were washed in only water.

"There was an insufficient supply of consumable products including cloths and mop heads.

"Mop heads in use were observed to be in a poor state and staff advised that cloths had to be constantly laundered so that they had something to use for cleaning.

"The inspector was advised that whilst there was hard surface cleaner for the floor there was no appropriate disinfectant supplied. There was no provision of washing liquid for dishes."

The issues were uncovered by the RQIA two weeks after the Commissioner for Older People heavily criticised Runwood Homes for failing to invest properly to ensure a safe service at Dunmurry Manor.

Eddie Lynch's report revealed relatives of Dunmurry Manor residents had to buy continence pads for their loved ones, because the standard of the products provided by Runwood Homes was so poor.

It emerged that staff had to buy their own blood pressure monitors, because all the monitors provided by Runwood Homes were broken.

The minutes also highlighted that staff shortages at Clifton Nursing Home were impacting on their ability to do their work to the best of their ability.

On the first day of the inspection, the home was short of three care staff.

The minutes said: "It was tangible that this was having a direct impact on patient care, including patients still waiting to have their morning needs attended to at 11.45am.

"In addition, patients were observed to be left unattended in the dining room at lunch and were observed to have their meals sitting in front of them without staff available to provide assistance."

Domestic staff also revealed that effective decontamination of previously occupied bedrooms was not being completed and deep cleans of bedrooms were not happening.

The minutes continued: "Domestic staff advised that they had not been completing their documentation and schedules as they had refused to falsify documentation to reflect that work had been completed when it hadn't. This matter has been raised at previous inspections and via concerns recently raised to RQIA.

"Domestic staff also advised that they would frequently assist patients with aspects of care including assistance to the bathroom and with eating their meals."

A spokesman for Clifton Nursing Home said: "Availability of resources within this service has been consistently evidenced.

"A new management team was put in place which has shown the service to be providing good quality care, further corroborated by an inspection in August which highlighted no new areas for improvement."

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