Cumbrian Care Homes Branded 'Ticking Time Bomb'

Care Quality Commission Reviews Show Significant Room For Improvement


Concerns have been raised in Cumbria over the state of care that residential home dwellers receive.

In the last few months there have been a number of poor reports highlighting bad practices, malnourishment and a lack of cleanliness across a number of facilities, according to the Cumbria Times and Star.

Tony Cunningham, MP for Workington told the publication the situation is a ticking time-bomb, following on from similar statements made by secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt earlier this week, who called on the sons and daughters of older people to avoid residential care wherever possible.

The situation in Cumbria is particularly acute and reviews by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) show there is significant room for improvement at a number of sites across the north-west English county.

Hazel Bank Residential Home was among those criticised by the CQC and despite dementia patients commenting they enjoyed living at the facility, a number of infractions were seen by inspectors.

On one visit in August, an investigation by the watchdog revealed patients were not properly taken care of because staff were supporting a person who had been admitted the previous day and one patient had not been given their midday meal. This particular resident's health needs meant this failure put them "at risk" of developing medical issues and represented poor practice.

Yanwath Care Home was also put under the spotlight by the CQC and a number of cleanliness issues left residents at risk of infection.

Inspectors found that shower chairs and toilet raiser seats were dirty underneath and sofas were badly stained - with one visitor claiming chairs are "often sticky underneath the arms".

Investigations also uncovered "unpleasant" odours throughout the home and this could partially have been caused by a lack of infection control training for the housekeeper - who complained a cleaning machine used for 'deep cleans' was out of order and needed maintenance.

While caring for the needs of dementia patients and the elderly is an undeniably tough task, basic standards must be met and the dignity of residents maintained, according to CQC regulations.

Expert Opinion
We see time and time again how devastating any kind of care home neglect is for victims as well as their families who trust care home staff to look after their loved ones professionally and compassionately.

“The care homes flagged by the CQC must show improvements have been made and new measures have been introduced to improve standards and protect patient safety.

“We continue to be contacted by the families of vulnerable patients who have been let down by medical professionals. It is simply not acceptable and staff and authorities across the board must do their utmost to protect patients and put preventative measures in place through better training and supervision so vulnerable people are not put at risk in care homes.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner