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  • Sarah Whitebloom

Worst Care Homes Part One

IT is six weeks since OLM last published its Worst Care home report. Sorry. Since then, there has been an average of about 10 homes a week slammed as ‘Inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission in 57 shocking reports. Many homes boast online about their excellent care and happy residents. The reports show the reality is rather different.

Almost all are labelled ‘unsafe’ by the regulator – although they are almost all still advertising for business and home to hundreds of vulnerable people. They range in size from a 100-bed mega-homes to an eight-person residence. Sixteen are owned by well-known care homes groups including Barchester, Bupa and HC-One - others are small privately-owned ventures. Some specialise in local authority-funded residents, others are swanky hotel-style homes, for which the highly-lucrative self-funding market pays a very high price.

Luxury Living? Chelmunds Court

It is interesting and upsetting in equal measure to look at this six-week-snapshot of ‘Inadequate’ homes – a window onto the world of appalling care. It is not a pretty sight.

By far the most common factor behind bad care is not abusive carers, it is lack of staff.

The reports make clear, there are simply not enough people employed in many homes to provide safe and adequate care. However much residents are paying, some home owners are simply not providing enough properly trained and experienced staff to give baths, get residents out of bed, provide decent meals and ensure frail people have enough fluids and, of course, to give people any sort of ‘life’ at all.

While websites boast of tailored care and home comforts, as a consequence of cost-saving by home owners, in some cases frail and elderly people are living in degrading and unpleasant circumstances. The reports contain disgusting stories from around the country of neglect, abuse, injury and even death.

As OLM has previously identified, many bad reports come only after the CQC has been warned by another organisation or by whistle-blowers or an serious incident has occurred. Numerous homes previously had 'Good' reports but have been exposed by incidents which relate directly to lack of staff. A third of these 57 'Inadequate' homes have a clean sweep, or near enough, of bad marks for everything from Safety to Care to Management.

Yet most remain open despite, in some case, a long history of terrible reports. A few have closed because of the CQC’s findings. But the overwhelming majority remain open and residents continue to live in these officially ‘Inadequate’ homes – and pay for the privilege.

Care industry figures complain that the main problem is the lack of funding from local authorities. And it’s true that spending has been cut. But how can anyone believe the industry’s complaints when well-funded private homes are also revealed to employ too few staff?

Among the 57 ‘Inadequate’ reports are many ‘high-end’ homes, such as Chelmunds Court, which is pictured above and which was found wanting in every single category. Luxury homes see residents pay as much as £1,500 a week - but many are receiving 'Inadequate' care.

According to the Chelmunds website: 'Residents can look forward to enjoying the highest levels of care provided by expert, dedicated staff within a completely modern purpose built residential home.'

According to the CQC report, it was the home's second 'Inadequate' report: ':This inspection was an unannounced focussed responsive inspection which was partly prompted by an incident which had a serious impact on a person using the service. This raised potential concerns about the management of risk at the home.'

Below is a list of homes declared ‘Inadequate’ between 11 August and 21 September 2018.

Homes owned by Care Groups






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