Care home complaints upheld

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THE watchdog Care Inspectorate (CI) has upheld no fewer than five complaints levelled by the daughter of an elderly resident at the specialist home for dementia sufferers at Craw Wood in Tweedbank.

As a result, inspectors have given the 25-unit facility, run by the Eildon Housing Association, the lowest gradings in its gift.

Indeed, the home has been officially branded “unsatisfactory” across three key criteria: the quality of care and support, the quality of the environment and the quality of management and leadership.

This compares to the respective gradings of “weak”, “weak” and “adequate” which were issued after an inspection in November last year.

And they are in stark contrast to the “very good”, “very good” and “good” ratings given to Craw Wood three years ago.

The CI defines “weak” as indicating concern about the performance of the service. “Unsatisfactory” represents a more serious level of concern.

The damning new assessment comes after January’s revelations in TheSouthern that police were probing the provision of care services at the facility.

The investigation began after Elaine Winwood, a care worker from Kelso, was informed by a member of staff at Craw Wood that her 72-year-old mother had allegedly been verbally and physically abused by another staff member on Christmas Eve.

Both employees were suspended and Eildon later confirmed the number of suspended staff stood at five, one of whom was later dismissed.

Meanwhile, Ms Winwood took her complaint over the standard of care her mother was receiving to the CI whose complaint inspector Annwyn Noble and inspector Sandra Thomson made an unannounced visit on January 18. A return visit was made by Ms Noble on January 23 and she has now conveyed the results of the investigation to Ms Winwood.

And she has upheld complaints that Ms Winwood’s mother had few opportunities to spend time outwith the home socially; that conversations with staff about her mother’s health were not always passed on to other staff; that her mother’s nutrional needs were not always met and she was not supported sufficiently by staff at meal times; that some staff were not suitably knowledgable about dementia care; and that staffing levels on the late shift and overnight did not meet her mother’s needs.

In her observations, Ms Noble notes that on one occasion there was only one carer on duty within the entire unit and that it was not satisfactory for staff to work for six months before receiving training in dementia awareness.

The inspector also found that staff were unaware of the resident’s weight loss and there was no evidence they offered her sufficient assistance to eat on days when this was required.

Eildon’s chief executive Nile Istephan said yesterday: “We are continuing to work closely with Scottish Borders Council, NHS Borders and the Care Inspectorate to address issues identified.

“In response to the concerns highlighted we have instigated a wide range of measures in our action plan, and these will be closely monitored by ourselves and the regulatory body.

“We are also able to confirm that, following thorough investigations of reported incidents, and confirmation from the police that they had concluded their enquiries on these issues, staff members who had been suspended on full pay pending these investigations have now had their suspensions lifted.”

SBC’s social work director Andrew Lowe told us: “The social work department is continuing to closely monitor the care provided and there continues to be additional management support from SBC into the home.

“The day-to-day quality of care for people in the home remains our key focus and, having read the inspection report, we are aware of the need for ongoing improvement in a number of key areas.

“However, we know that Eildon has an action plan in place and a number of actions are being taken forward, including the provision of additional training. We will continue to monitor progress.”