Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland care home closed to new admissions in safety probe

By Lisa Smyth

Health inspectors have ordered a care home for people with dementia to close to new admissions amid serious concerns over residents' welfare.

Glenabbey Manor in Glengormley is owned by Runwood Homes - the same company that operated Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, which was forced to close last year after regulators said conditions in the facility posed a serious risk to life.

The firm also owns Dunmurry Manor, situated on the outskirts of Belfast, which has been at the centre of a number of official probes over conditions there.

The latest development has prompted a call for the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) to be given greater powers to act when companies continually fail to meet basic safety standards.

The RQIA said yesterday that it has taken enforcement action against Glenabbey Manor after an unannounced inspection of the facility on February 13 and 14 carried out in response to intelligence it had received.

During the visit, it emerged that two residents had fallen at the home and required medical care. However, the RQIA had not been informed of the incidents - despite this being required by law.

The RQIA said: "This is the second time that this issue has been brought to the attention of the provider in respect of this home."

It also emerged during the inspection that staff were left in charge despite the fact they had not completed the necessary assessment to prove they were capable of doing so.

The RQIA said: "The registered provider's persistent failure to ensure that all staff who are left in charge of the home are competent and capable has the potential to place residents at risk of harm.

"This is the second time that this issue has been brought to the attention of the provider in respect of this home."

Last August, the RQIA took the unprecedented step of closing Ashbrooke Care Home while describing the failings there the worst they had ever seen.

The RQIA's inspection report revealed that one patient with diarrhoea was left for 20 minutes without help, while another resident was believed to have gone without a shower for five weeks.

Records showed two patients had lost more than one stone in a week and there was no evidence this had been addressed.

Meanwhile, Dunmurry Manor has been at the centre of a number of probes, including an investigation by the NI Commission for Older People, Eddie Lynch, who is examining the action taken by the RQIA and health trusts after it emerged concerns were raised about the home as far back as 2014, shortly after it opened.

Aidan Hanna from NI Patient Voice said: "It should not be left up to the RQIA to be the only people who monitor care in nursing homes.

"The RQIA must be praised on this occasion for acting swiftly but they are just repeating the same enforcement action at other Runwood Homes care facilities. It is now clear that the RQIA should have powers to act against private companies who systematically fail to provide safe nursing care to the most vulnerable in society."

Runwood Homes did not respond to a request for comment.

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