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  • Sarah Whitebloom

How much kindness can Ferndale Court's residents take from HC-One (the kind care company)?

A late entry for last week's Worst Care Home award:

WHAT is kindness in adult care? Is it not providing enough staff to keep people safe? Is it not giving people enough to eat and drink? Maybe it is ignoring requests for help or abandoning people in bed or on the lavatory for hours? Could it be handling frail people in a way that could injure them? Or is it just concealing problems and not listening to concerns?

No? All of this ‘kindness’ was found by the Care Quality Commission in its latest inspection of Ferndale Court Nursing Home in Widnes.

The Cheshire home is owned by HC-One, which refers to itself, without a hint of irony, as ‘The Kind Care Company’. But, according to the report, HC-One’s home is among the worst in the country. It has ‘inadequate’ ratings for every aspect of life and for its overall grade. The regulator has banned new admissions at what HC-One calls a ‘delightful purpose-built care home’.

Sadly, the CQC’s report on the ‘kind’ home does not suggest anything delightful and precious little kindness: ‘We asked people if they had needed to make a complaint. One person told us, "There is no point complaining, no one listens, nothing gets done." A relative told us, "The care is poor. I have made numerous complaints it's no use. Nothing changes".’

There were even more shocking revelations about life in the home: ‘The provider is required by law to notify the Commission of specific events occurring at the home. We found numerous incidents and safeguarding concerns which the Commission had not been notified as required.This is a criminal offence under the Health and Social Care Act 2014.’

As well as detailing concerns over staff numbers and lack of training, the inspectors noted that residents of Ferndale Court were ‘unkempt’ and not supported to eat and drink sufficiently.

One of the worst fears people have about going into a care home is that their wishes will not be respected. According to the report: ‘We raised concern person centred-care was not being provided for people according to their care needs, preferences and wishes...

‘We looked at whether there were enough activities and stimulation for people and found there was not enough stimulation or activities for their health and wellbeing.’

The Competition and Markets Authority made clear earlier this month that homes must not make incorrect claims about the care they offer.

So why does HC-One still insist on the sobriquet ‘The Kind Care Company’? Ferndale’s website, complete with a 9.6 score from the industry’s rating site, paints a glowing picture of the home – and such a dramatic contrast from the CQC inspectors’ views.

According to HC-One's website: ‘Ferndale Court’s Home Manager will make sure that all Residents receive the kindest possible care. Our extensively trained team will deliver all the nursing and specialist care and support services that your loved one requires. Personalised care plans consider not only medical, personal and dietary needs, but also the individual’s likes and dislikes.’

Hilarious? Not really, when you consider the reality.

The CQC inspectors found that residents’ relatives had put up notices inside bedrooms – including one telling staff to make sure their parent were not left in bed all day. One family had even taken the extraordinary step of employing a private carer to come into the home – because they were concerned the person was not ‘receiving care when they needed it’.

How much kindness can one person take?

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