'Horrendous year' for care home after 9 residents die in Covid outbreak

Garrett House, Aldeburgh.

Garrett House Residential House in Aldeburgh was visited by CQC inspectors - Credit: Garrett House

Bosses at an Aldeburgh care home have said it has been an "horrendous year" as inspectors call for improvements.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Garrett House Residential Home in May and June after receiving concerns around staffing, infection control and care safety. The inspection came a year after 9 Covid-related deaths at the home.

The Park Road home had been rated 'good' by the watchdog following an inspection back in 2019.

In a recently-published report, the CQC found that governance systems were "not robust enough to effectively and independently identify shortfalls".

Inspectors said there was "insufficient staff to ensure people were being provided with person-centred care" and training had not been kept up to date.

The CQC was also "not assured all incidents were being reported appropriately to other professionals".

However, the watchdog said the care home was clean and hygienic and staff were wearing correct personal protective equipment (PPE) due to Covid.

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The service was rated 'requires improvement' and an action plan on how to improve standards will be requested.

In a statement, the owners of Garrett House have pledged to improve the home's rating and spoke of the difficulties it had faced amid the Covid crisis.

The statement said: "In the early stages of the pandemic when there was no testing and no issue of PPE, we admitted a resident from hospital who was carrying the virus, and this resulted in the death of nine residents and almost 90% of the workforce off sick or isolating from the virus.

"During this time, under government guidelines, no visiting professionals, GPs or face-to-face trainers came into the home.

"We did, however, have the full support of relatives and have received many cards and gifts throughout the pandemic.

"It has been an horrendous year which has been difficult to come back from, but with stringent infection control measures in place, we have been COVID free for 13 months.

"We are disappointed but accept the findings of the report. A new manager and deputy have been put in place and we have a great staff team who are passionate and eager to quickly regain our previously ‘good’ rating with CQC."

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