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  • Sarah Whitebloom


Residents terrified of physical attack, horrifying degradation and neglect and, in the week an elderly man died in a care home fire, appalling fire risks that resulted in frail residents being removed to safety – a snapshot from last week’s CQC reports on English care homes.

Ten care homes, out of 100, were awarded the worst ‘Inadequate’ grading. Three, which stood out as particularly dreadful, are OLM’s Worst Care Homes of the Week. They are:

Calderdale Retreat – Calderdale

The Old Vicarage – Doncaster and

Bowbridge Court – Newark, which is owned by the Ideal group.

Each has received multiple negative reports from the Care Quality Commission. And last week’s reports described horrifying scenes of life for residents of the three homes.

Calderdale was, perhaps, the worst. It received a clean sweep of damning ratings – red flags for every aspect of life in the 81-bed purpose-built home. It was the second 'Inadequate' report in three months. The home, which claims to offer ‘’, had failed to take steps to rectify matters which were highlighted last November.

On its website, Calderdale claims: ‘We aim to successfully deliver a quality person centred service to our residents. The organisation will develop to provide centres of excellence in the provision of care across Yorkshire.’

Calderdale Retreat

But, among a litany of failures and concerns, the inspectors reported: ‘We arrived at 10am and found 14 out of 19 people were still in bed on the nursing unit. Some people had clearly not been supported with personal care as we found strong odours of faeces and urine in people's rooms. We saw one person had been incontinent of faeces and they had to wait an hour and a half for staff to support them, despite us pointing out this to the registered general nurse. We heard two people called out repeatedly for help. We looked for staff to inform but no staff were visible.’

Meanwhile, at the Old Vicarage in Doncaster, a whistle-blower had alerted the regulator to major problems over safety – in particular fire safety. It was so bad and, once more, the home had failed to improve the situation, that the local authority actually removed the remaining residents from the home shortly after the inspection.

On the website, the Old Vicarage claims: ‘Being one of the smaller residential care homes in the Nottinghamshire / South Yorkshire area, we can offer the attention to detail that you are certain to be looking for.’

The Old Vicarage Doncaster

In the CQC report, it maintains: ‘A fire officer also undertook a fire alarm drill to test the responses of the staff on duty and found despite recent training, the staff did not respond in an organised and safe manner....their lack of response would have put people who lived at the service and visitors at serious risk of harm. As a result of this the local authority took the decision to remove the remaining people from the service on the 21 December 2017.’

Lastly, but by no means least, Bowbridge Court, Newark, must share OLM’s dubious Worst Care Home honours.

Bowbridge Court

The home, owned by the Ideal group, has had seven negative reports since 2013 – including two ‘Inadequate’ ratings. In this latest report, the CQC inspectors found residents’ fearing for their safety and reports of physical attack.

On its website, the home boasts of a 9.5 rating from an industry website and claims: ‘Bowbridge Court has all the finishing touches you would expect from a warm and welcoming home, with cosy fire places, attractive décor and freely accessible, secure, gardens. All 54 bedrooms are en-suite, enabling us to deliver person-centred care in a dignified manner, promoting independence as far as possible.’

In reality, the inspectors found: ‘One person told us,"[Person's name] has hit me four times but that is quite a while back. I don't think there is anyone else who would hurt you." Another person commented, "There's a violent person here, I don't feel safe. There's another person who kicks people." They went on to describe being physically assaulted on a number of occasions and described other incidents they had witnessed.’

And the regulator reported: ‘The approach of the staff team was not consistent. One person told us "There's a tremendous variety in the care of carers. Some are good, others seem to be doing it just for the money, I don't know why they want to be carers, literally they couldn't care less." A relative told us, "Care varies, depends who's on, who's looking after [relation]."’

Ideal recently failed in court to prevent the CQC issuing a negative report on another of its care homes, Ashworth Grange in Dewsbury. It maintained the regulator’s ‘Inadequate’ rating did not represent a true or accurate reflection of the home and the homes group refuted the CQC’s concerns. It has issued no protest in respect of the damning conclusions in the Bowbridge Court report.

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