Belfast Telegraph

Health bosses to discuss concerns over residents’ care at Belfast home

Clifton Nursing Home in north Belfast, which is owned by Runwood Homes
Clifton Nursing Home in north Belfast, which is owned by Runwood Homes

By Lisa Smyth

Health officials are putting together a report on the repeated concerns raised about a care facility owned by Runwood Homes.

The director of adult social care at the Belfast Trust is due to address the trust board about Clifton Nursing Home at its next meeting in November.

It comes after the most recent inspection of the north Belfast home in April which uncovered safety concerns over medication, the storage of hazardous substances and how residents are monitored after a fall.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) carried out an unannounced inspection after it was contacted by the Belfast Trust regarding "certain aspects of patient care" in two units at the home.

While details of the potential concerns are not known, RQIA inspectors were tasked with looking at nutrition, falls management, personal care, the environment in the home and the management of medicines.

The regulator found, in one case, best practice guidance was not followed in that clinical and neurological observations were not taken after a resident fell.

Chemicals were also found to be accessible to residents in two areas of the home and staff were not compliant in relation to infection control.

Concerns were raised about the management of medication, with registered nurses seen not disposing of discontinued medication and doors where medication was stored were left unlocked.

The RQIA's report said: "This is concerning as there had been a recent incident regarding theft of medicines from this treatment room and it was evident that there had not been a change of practice to ensure that medicines were safely and securely stored."

The inspectors also discovered that the morning medication rounds finished at 11.20am and 11.40am, but records of administration were signed at 10am.

Management at the home were handed improvement notices in relation to the management of medication changes, storage and security of medicines and the timing of the medicine round.

Staff and residents also raised concerns about staffing levels, with one employee stating there were occasions when they could not complete their work.

The RQIA inspection was raised at last week's meeting of the Belfast Trust's board.

It was the latest visit to the care home by health regulators that uncovered areas of concern over the safety of residents.

Just a few months earlier, the RQIA carried out an inspection which discovered a series of issues, including that the home was found to be using communal net underwear seven months after it was told to cease the practice.

Aidan Hanna from NI Patient Voice said: "I raised the ongoing issues at Clifton Nursing Home at the Belfast Trust board meeting because there have been problems there for years.

"Concerns have been raised about Clifton every year since 2013 and I wonder how long it's going to fail to meet standards before proper action is going to be taken?"

Runwood Homes did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokesman from the Belfast Trust said: "Issues relating to Clifton Nursing Home have been brought to our attention and we are currently looking into them."

Clifton Nursing Home was banned in 2015 from taking new residents after failing to act on repeated warnings about practices, including inappropriate restraint of vulnerable residents.

Belfast Telegraph


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