Belfast Telegraph

Inspectors close care home after finding bad smells, faulty equipment and lack of management

Care home shut down due to 'serious risk to life' of residents

By Claire Williamson

A care home in Enniskillen has been shut down with immediate effect due to the "serious risk to the life, health and wellbeing" of all those living there.

Ashbrooke Care Home, a 64-bed facility for elderly people who require nursing care and for those who suffer from dementia, was told to shut its doors last Friday.

Runwood Homes, which operates the facility, claimed it did not get prior notification of the closure and said that an inspection in May found safe delivery of care.

It is the first time Northern Ireland's watchdog, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) has taken such immediate action.

Health chiefs are trying to find new beds for about 40 of the residents.

A spokesman for the inspectorate said it expected the Western Health and Social Care Trust to find new placements, beds, homes and care packages for the residents as a priority.

It comes after an urgent unannounced inspection was carried out by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) last Wednesday.

The watchdog noted bad smells along with defective equipment, fire risks and concerns about staffing and a lack of clarity about management of the home.

Ashbrooke is operated by Runwood Homes which operated 67 residential care homes across England and Northern Ireland.

Chief Executive of RQIA Olive Macleod said: "On Wednesday 16 August, RQIA conducted an urgent unannounced inspection at Ashbrooke Care Home, Enniskillen, operated by Runwood Homes Ltd, in response to safeguarding concerns received by RQIA the previous evening.

"During RQIA’s inspection, we found systemic care failings and concerns in relation to the management of the home.

"RQIA considered that there was a serious risk to the life, health and wellbeing of all those living at Ashbrooke Care Home, and that assurances from the provider were not sufficient to address the risks identified.

"As a result of these significant failings, on Friday 18 August 2017, RQIA obtained an urgent order to cancel the registration of Ashbrooke Care Home, Enniskillen, with immediate effect.

"RQIA believes that everyone living in a nursing or residential care home is entitled to the highest standard of care.

"The ongoing safety and wellbeing of every patient and resident at this home is of paramount importance to RQIA.

"We are currently liaising with relevant authorities, including the Western Health and Social Care Trust, to ensure that as a matter of priority, appropriate, alternative care arrangements are put in place for those living at Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen.”

Runwood Homes claimed it did not get prior notification of the closure and said that an inspection in May found safe delivery of care.

The company said: "There has not, therefore, been any opportunity for Runwood staff to engage with RQIA to address any concerns that they had."

It added it was working closely with the local trust to ensure residents are cared for.

Runwood said: "Ensuring that residents of Ashbrooke Care Home receive high quality nursing and residential care is of upmost importance to us."

Thirty-nine of the 40 residents in the home are clients of the Western Trust.

A Trust spokeswoman said: "This is a very difficult situation and time for the residents concerned and their families.

"As an interim measure, the trust will work alongside the management of the home to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents which remains the trust's priority."

UUP MLA Rosemary Barton said she was "very concerned" to hear about the closure.

She said: "It is unprecedented for the RQIA to take such forthright action and my immediate concern is for the residents. This will be a traumatic experience for them and their families.

“The focus of everyone should now be on the safety and welfare of the residents so that they can be relocated as soon as possible in a way that minimises the disruption to their lives and those of their families.

"I want to see the full co-operation of Runwood Homes with the Western Health and Social Care Trust in addressing the serious issues identified during the unannounced inspection.”

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