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  • Sarah Whitebloom


Forest Care Village

Forest Care Village in Borehamwood was OLM’s unequalled Worst Care Home of the Week last week – not least because of a police investigation into a death.

It is quite unusual for a home to be the sole winner of the week’s award. But in the case of the 176-bed Forest Care Village, there were no serious rivals – although others received ‘Inadequate’ reports and the same number of bad marks.

The Hertfordshire-based home actually received ‘Inadequate’ marks for only three out of five of the domains inspected by the Care Quality Commission – safety, responsiveness and leadership. Forest Care Village actually received ‘Requires Improvement’ ratings for effectiveness and caring.

Nevertheless, the CQC’s report into the mega-home made for distressing reading – cataloguing, as it did, dreadful scenes in which residents cried out in pain and wept because they were neglected. According to inspectors: ‘We found that there were serious failings from staff and management to ensure people received care and support in a safe and effective way.’

The eight-strong inspection team added: ‘Seven people and two relatives felt there were not enough staff to meet their needs in a timely way and also that the agency staff working in the home were not knowledgeable about their needs which had impacted on their dignity and general well-being.’

See OLM’s full report on Forest Care Village here.

Three other homes were worthy of mention among last week’s ‘Inadequate’ reports:

  • St Marks in Clacton, which has ‘Required Improvement’ since 2016 and now is judged ‘Inadequate’

  • Oakdene in Birkenhead, which received its fifth bad report and is the subject of a police investigation into financial abuse

  • The Beeches in Kelloe, which had 23 residents at the beginning of the inspection and only 18 by the end.

According to the regulator, they went into St Marks because of ‘information we had received from people and their relatives since we inspected in February 2017’.

The CQC has placed restrictions on the Essex-based home because of concerns over ‘the risks to people in respect of their care and welfare and the quality of life. We considered that if we did not do this people would remain at risk. We also restricted new admissions.’

The CQC also addressed the difficult subject of language problems: ‘Visitors to the service also raised concerns about staff where English was not their first language. They were concerned about their ability to communicate effectively with people. Especially for people living with dementia, and/or had communication needs, where they were at risk of being socially isolated, or their needs not being understood.’

The report stated: ‘We found that staff's understanding of English and communication skills varied.’

Inspectors were clearly highly sceptical about the care at the Beeches in Kelloe.

‘At our inspection of the service...we found there were insufficient staff on duty to care for people who used the service. Staff were extremely rushed and had little time to spend with people due to them completing physical care tasks.’

And, they said: ‘There was a malodour in all areas of the service. We found toilets were stained with faeces and furniture, walls, sinks, carpets and floors which were dirty and stained.

There was no heating in eight bedrooms, six of which were occupied. One person was in their room which was very cold. We asked if they would like to move bedrooms until the heating was fixed and they told us they would like to move rooms. This person moved rooms while we were at the service.’

The first thing the manager at Oakdene in Birkenhead told the inspectors was: ‘There were on-going police investigations into allegations of financial abuse’.

Once more, staffing was a problem: ‘The provider had not ensured staff were deployed in sufficient numbers at all times to meet people's individual needs and protect them from harm.’

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