Belfast Telegraph

Pensioners face urgent move as watchdog shuts down Northern Ireland care home

By Angela Rainey

Frail elderly residents, some suffering from dementia, are being urgently rehomed after "significant failings" shut down their Co Fermanagh care home.

Accommodation is being sought for 39 pensioners after the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) found poor standards at Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen.

The 64-bed unit on the Old Tempo Road, which is owned by Runwood Care Homes Ltd, lost its registration with "immediate effect", following an unannounced inspection.

Officials from the watchdog reported serious concerns over personal care and weight loss management, defective equipment, fire risks and staffing. There was also a lack of clarity about management of the home.

The home was commended in May for addressing RQIA recommendations but inspectors report it has since "deteriorated".

A spokesperson for RQIA said that during an inspection, staff found "systemic care failings and concerns" over 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," he added.

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

The watchdog is working with Western Health Trust to rehome residents as "a matter of priority".

Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton said disruption to residents must be minimised.

"This will be a traumatic experience for residents and their families," she added.

Sinn Fein MLA Colm Gildernew said he has been contacted by several concerned families.

He added: "Sinn Fein's primary concern is the safety and welfare for the residents and their families. We are working with them to clarify the situation."

A spokesperson for Ashbrooke said there has been no opportunity to address issues that saw the home shut down but that residents remain of the utmost importance.

She said: "Runwood Homes Limited was not given any prior notification of the enforcement action that the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority intended to take in relation to Ashbrooke Care Home.

"A previous unannounced care inspection of the Home by RQIA on May 15, 2017, had found that there was evidence of safe delivery of care and no enforcement action resulted from the findings of that inspection.

"There has not, therefore, been any opportunity for Runwood staff to engage with RQIA to address any concerns that they had with regard to the running of Ashbrooke Care Home."

She added that Runwood are working closely with the Western Health Trust and other stakeholders to ensure that care delivery is provided.

"Ensuring that residents of Ashbrooke Care Home receive high quality nursing and residential care is of utmost importance to us," she added.

Belfast Telegraph

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