Nursing home in special measures after watchdog spots ‘signs of abuse’

Eastcotts Nursing Home in Calford Green, near Haverhill in Suffolk, is rated 'inadequate' by the CQC

Eastcotts Nursing Home in Calford Green, near Haverhill in Suffolk, is rated 'inadequate' by the CQC Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

A health watchdog has placed a Suffolk nursing home in special measures after spotting signs of abusive behaviour.

Experts from the Care Quality Commission visited Eastcotts Care Home with Nursing in Calford Green in April and discovered "institutional and unsafe practices" which they claim went "unnoticed and unchallenged" by senior staff.

Inspectors said physical intervention was sometimes used by staff members while others spoke to residents "very sternly and harshly" and told them to "sit down" or "sit".

During their visit assessors said a cleaning cloth used to wipe tables was also used on two people's faces - they had advanced dementia.

"The culture in which people were living required significant improvement, there was institutional and unsafe practices, which went unnoticed and unchallenged by senior staff," inspectors wrote in a report released this month.

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"Interaction between some care staff and people was poor and disrespectful.

"There were times when people's privacy and dignity were compromised. People were not always protected from avoidable harm or abuse because some practice in the home by some staff was abusive."

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Experts also identified "very poor" practice in supporting people with eating and drinking: "When helping one person with a drink we heard a member of staff saying 'drink, drink' in an abrupt and demanding manner.

"The person shouted: 'No, go away, leave me alone.'"

The care home - which provides accommodation, nursing and personal care for up to 60 older people and serves villages between Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill - was also very short staffed, inspectors said.

One person is quoted in the report as saying: "There are just not enough staff about. You see one then they disappear and you don't see anyone again for a long time.

While one member of staff said: "We do our best, but need more carers."

Despite the concerns, there were some positives found by inspectors.

They considered the environment was generally clean, people's medicines were managed safely, and people were complimentary about the food.

Ranking the home 'inadequate' in all areas - it was rated 'requires improvement' overall at a previous inspection in January 2018 - inspectors said they were "very concerned" and immediately flagged their findings to the local authority. Those in charge say they are taking the situation "extremely seriously".

They have already taken steps to improve, including appointing a new nurse manager, replacing staff with insufficient English language skills, implementing a new, bespoke training programme to improve the skills and knowledge base of staff and conducting a full care plan review.

Bosses are also investigating specific allegations made in the report and replacing a carpet found to pose a trip hazard.

A spokesman said: "We are taking this situation extremely seriously and we have already taken a number of steps to put in place a range of measures to improve Eastcotts.

"We have kept all resident relatives informed of the steps we have taken following the CQC report and have reassured them that we are addressing all areas of concern.

"We take the safety and wellbeing of our residents very seriously.

"We continue to work with the CQC and local authority to make Eastcotts provide a better service.

"In the next inspection due in six months, we expect to demonstrate the progress we have made to the CQC."

'Safety of residents our top priority' - council

Sue Cook, executive director of people's services at Suffolk County Council, said: "We take the findings of this report extremely seriously and the safety of residents is our top priority.

"Our local team has been in regular contact with the newly appointed manager to ensure the home makes necessary improvements.

"We will continue to work with our CCG colleagues on supporting the home while they implement these changes.

She added: "Where appropriate the local social work team will be carrying out reviews to ensure the care provided meets the needs of residents and we will also be working closely with families as part of this process.

"We would like to encourage any residents and families that have any worries or concerns to contact the local social work office on 0808 800 4005."

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