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Care home manager hits back at criticism of its staffing levels

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Engleburn Care Home came under fire from the Care Quality Commission
Engleburn Care Home came under fire from the Care Quality Commission

CONCERN over staffing levels at a Barton care home have been highlighted by a national watchdog but the manager has hit back claiming the criticisms are “unfair”.

Engleburn Care Home in Milford Road has dropped from its previous ‘good’ rating in 2017 to ‘requires improvement’, following a recent visit by Care Quality Commission inspectors.

They said it was falling down in three of the five areas graded - whether it was safe, caring and well-led. It was judged as good, however, with regard to being effective and responsive.

The most glaring criticism levelled against the home was a claim by one resident that she had been “humiliated” after shouting for help from staff to get out of bed, only to be told off for calling out.

One relative told inspectors it was often 11.30am before her mother was dressed by staff; she said she usually found her in the lounge in her dressing gown complaining of being “dumped” there.

In relation to staffing levels, a “majority” of residents asked by inspectors – although it was not stated how many – gave “negative” feedback on the subject, and relatives reported numbers being “a bit light”, the CQC said.

Even though staff were said to be “amazing”, one relative said her mother’s mobility had been affected by insufficient numbers of carers. The CQC added: “There was a consensus in the feedback from staff that staffing levels were sufficient. However, some felt they needed more staff.”

There was “mixed” evidence as to how risks were assessed, and more “robust” measures were needed, said the report, while relatives did not always feel involved in reviewing their care needs and plans. Furthermore, many care reviews had “very little information”, inspectors said.

The CQC report added risk management needed to be improved, including for falls, mobility, pressure care and infection control.

Some care documentation needed more detail and to clearly reflect people's needs and risks, and it was said systems in place to monitor the quality and safety of the service were not always effective.

On a more positive note, the CQC report stated residents were treated with kindness and compassion, and records confirmed people received their medicines as prescribed.

Relevant pre-recruitment checks were conducted and staff received and had completed training in safeguarding adults, and knew how to identify, prevent and report abuse. The staff also received frequent support and one-to-one sessions or supervision to discuss areas of development.

Residents were supported with their nutritional needs when required, received varied meals and a choice of fresh food and drinks. Staff were aware of their likes and dislikes and a nutritional manager monitored their weight and dining experiences.

“People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests; the policies and systems in the service supported this practice,” said the CQC.

In response, Engleburn manger Tracey Holland said the home had already taken steps to address some of the issues flagged up.

But she questioned some points, saying: “The issues that were raised around the staffing were unfair and unjust.”

Staff have been given more supervision on responding to requests promptly and treating people with dignity, while improvements were being made to the care planning system.

Ms Holland told the A&T: “We currently have an amazing team comprising 69 permanent staff. Every week the rota goes out with every single hour covered.

“If there are any hours not able to be covered by Engleburn staff then we use an agency.

“These agency staff follow the same training as our permanent staff and are part of our team. In the home we have 76 clients, so we are very interested to find out what the CQC consider to be a ‘majority’. They only spoke to a few clients, and a few relatives.

“Many of the relatives spoken to gave the home a glowing report and could not praise it enough; however, none of these comments are reported.”

Ms Holland said they had challenged the parts of the report they believed were factually incorrect, while also pointing out that many positive comments had not been included.

She said: “The home will continue to provide excellent care for all of our clients and support for their families.

“We will also always continue to recruit further permanent staff that will add to our current wonderful team. At this current time we have five full-time staff on maternity leave.”

Ms Holland added that the home recently had a “thorough” two-day audit with the local authority’s dementia accreditation team.

“They felt that during their visit it was obvious how hard we worked to provide a safe, happy, warm, welcoming home to enrich the lives of our residents,” she added.

“Engleburn is a family-run home that has been established for nearly 30 years, with the same manager for 26 years. We strive to have a happy, safe home that provides the best we can on a daily basis for all of our residents.”

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