'Significant concern' over physical patient-on-patient attacks at 'inadequate' care home

Brookwood Manor Sudbury care home sign

Brookwood Manor, in Little Waldringfield near Sudbury, has been rated 'inadequate' by the CQC - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

Dementia patients were left with cuts and bruises at a care home recently placed in special measures by health inspectors.

Care Quality Commission experts who visited Brookwood Manor in Little Waldingfield, near Sudbury, on two dates in December and January rated the service 'inadequate' for safety and leadership and gave it six months to improve.

Inspectors said they were so concerned about "numerous incidents of aggression" between residents, ranging from verbal assaults to physical attacks where people were held down and hit or pushed, that they considered taking immediate action.

Bosses at the home, run by Blue Ocean Brookwood Ltd, said that through the Covid lockdown residents had displayed challenging behaviour, but added that this has now been rectified, with some people moved to more appropriate services and the home not recording any similar incidents since the inspection.

CQC inspectors wrote in a subsequent report that it had made referrals to the local authority's safeguarding team following the two unannounced visits.

Concerns were also raised in the CQC's report about fire safety at the 28-bed home.

Only two staff had completed fire safety training while fire doors were found to be propped open with objects which may have prevented them from closing automatically in the event of a blaze.

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Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service carried out an audit at the home following the CQC's visit and found deficiencies in the fire risk assessment, the emergency plan, staffing at night, fire doors and staff training.

Bosses at the home said the fire safety concerns were linked to the building's age and stature.

A spokesman said: "We have been and continue to refurbish the property, which in turn has dealt with the fire issues, along with all staff receiving additional training."

Inspectors also wrote in their report that there was a "very strong, offensive smell in the ground floor communal areas that continued throughout our visit".

They added: "We were told housekeeping staff cleaned frequently touched surfaces, although we
found surfaces such as radiator covers and handrails were visibly stained and tacky to touch."

Staffing issues were also raised in the report, with CQC assessors stating there was no registered manager in place.

Brookwood Manor chiefs said a manager had been in place at all times but that they were not permanent or CQC registered, adding that a recruitment process is ongoing. In the meantime, they said, an interim experienced manager is in place. 

Inspectors gave the home the lowest-possible rating of 'inadequate' for its overall performance, the other three key categories of effectiveness, responsiveness and care were not assessed at the December and January inspections. In January 2020, the home was considered 'good' overall.

A spokesman for the home expressed disappointment at the 'inadequate rating' and said "we have clearly not met the high standards that we set ourselves".

The CQC will revisit the home within six months to check the required improvements have been carried out.