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  • Sarah Whitebloom

Understaffed, unclean and unsafe. Tales from the Worst Homes of the Week: Queens Care Centre, Rother

Relatives regularly tell care inspectors that a residential home is wonderful and the staff are so caring – right up to the point that the care regulator closes the home because it actually has appalling standards and neglect and abuse are rife.

Is it that no one wants to admit, even to themselves, that the care home where their mother is living may not actually be caring? Or is it that homes put on a good show when visitors come? Or is it that many visitors sadly do not spend enough time to see what is happening and that it takes a two-day visit from the CQC to find out? Perhaps it is a mixture of all three.

Queens Care Centre, Rotherham

But there can be no doubt about our two Worst Care Homes of the Week. The fact that a relative said as much about Queens Care Centre in Rotherham says a very great deal about how bad the 67-bed home is.

In a refreshingly honest and very worrying comment, the relative told the inspectors: ‘If my [family member] is sat there day after day in the wrong wheelchair, without her glasses, in someone else's clothes and without her hearing aid, how can that be maintaining her dignity and be caring?’

It was Queens Care Centre's second ‘Inadequate’ report in a year and the home was found to be in breach of six regulations. It was actually one of two Rotherham homes to be slapped with an 'Inadequate' report last week - the other is Ackroyd House. But Queens Care Centre is a 'stand out' home - failing in just about every respect. The CQC’s report is truly damning. The 35 residents, who were there at the time of the inspection last month, really should apply for a refund under the Trades Descriptions Act - and they could!

The report revealed people were not treated with respect, they were not safe and their medicines were not properly administered. Sometimes, they did not even get their medicines. There were insufficient staff and the place smelt and was shabby. Plus, the home was under investigation by the local authority for just about everything from mismanaging residents’ money to employing staff who did not have skills or experience.

According to the CQC: ‘Prior to the inspection the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) informed us they had received a number of safeguarding referrals from the manager, ex-members of staff and relatives of people living at the home. These included issues around medication mismanagement, dignity and respect, inadequate personal care, skill and competency of care workers, poor moving and handling technique, insufficient and inadequate equipment and investigations into financial matters concerning resident's personal monies. These were subject to investigation by the local authority at the time of the inspection.’

There was nothing good to say. The inspectors disclosed that the home has been in turmoil. But it is the residents who appear to be suffering the consequences: ‘The service had an unstable workforce. The majority of permanent staff had either left or been dismissed from the service since our last inspection, which included the home manager.'

Our other Worst Home of the Week must be The Laurels, one of Sussex Healthcare's Horsham homes. Given that the group is under investigation by the police in respect of 12 deaths and the fact that the home has actually deteriorated over the last year, as explained in Friday’s post, it cannot be excluded from OLM’s hall of infamy.

Other homes which received 'Inadequate' reports in the last week are:

Woodland Manor, Gerrards Cross

Ackroyd House, Rotherham

St Michael’s house, Northampton

Hatfield House, Doncaster

Roseland Lodge, Great Yarmouth

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