Loughborough Echo

‘There is a duty of care, but the failures are from the top - some of the staff were lovely and trying their best, but there’s no support’



ELDERLY people were left to soil themselves and suffered broken bones at a county care home rated as requiring improvemen­t, family members have claimed.

Charnwood Oaks Care Home, in Shepshed, was found to be putting its residents at risk of abuse following a report published last month by the Care Quality Commission, the official body that monitors health and social care in England.

Undocument­ed bruising, staff who were not fully trained and insufficie­nt Covid-19 measures led the watchdog into criticisin­g the Sullington Road home.

Prime Life Ltd, the company which runs Charnwood Oaks, has said the team “has worked tirelessly to remedy the issues identified” since the report came out and it has appointed a new manager.

However, an ex-member of staff and the families of three previous residents have told the Mercury that the flaws found in the running of the care home were not news to them.

A member of staff who worked in the care home during the first half of this year said she was pleased it was now being talked about in the open.

She said: “In some ways I’m almost glad it’s come out into the news. It’s awful for the residents and their families, but if this is the only way that things can change for the better, then so be it.

“The place has four units, two upstairs and two downstairs, which normally have about 20 people in them. There’s one person assigned to do the medication per unit and (one weekend) I was expected in the evening to do medication­s on three units.

“How in the name of God is that safe? Medication­s will be late and I could make a mistake because I’m under pressure.

“At one point there were no bed sheets in the building and I was asking ‘what have you got on the beds?’ And it was duvet covers.

“Where is the residents’ dignity?

You cannot leave somebody on a bed that doesn’t have proper sheets on. It shouldn’t have happened.

“It’s the basic things and because they weren’t being picked up on, people were just allowed to carry on and people wanted to change it but you just couldn’t.”

She echoed the CQC’s concerns that protocols were not being met.

“I remember one unexplaine­d bruise on a head, (and I asked) ‘how’s this person got this bruise?’ and nobody knew.

“I thought ‘well, how are we supposed to document this, it’s unexplaine­d bruising.’

“There is a duty of care. How would they like it if it was one of their family members in a care home?

“I do feel like the failures are coming from the top, the regional managers. The poor (new) manager came in and she was just left, there was no support, she had no deputy. Some of the staff there were absolutely lovely, like the carers. They were trying their best but there was never the support.

“In the big corporates, it’s just a business. But this can’t be, it’s someone’s home. They should be getting the proper care.”

‘PROBLEMS GO BACK YEARS’ Kerry Charleswor­th’s father, Michael, was in the home in 2015 after a planned hip operation had to be cancelled as the damage to the joint was too extensive.

She claims the concerns flagged up by the CQC this year existed in 2015 as well.

She said: “After being there a few days, he just wasn’t happy but we thought it was just the transition. My dad could be quite difficult at times and I just thought it was him playing up.

“It was just little things like he’d say ‘I asked to be taken to the toilet today and I’ve had to mess myself’. That’s quite embarrassi­ng for a parent to tell their child.

“After about a week, we made the decision as a family to spend a lot more time there and we realised it wasn’t just him demanding our time, he really was not happy.

“They pulled him around at one point and hurt him. I said to her ‘do you understand that he’s got no hip, the pain that he’s in is excruciati­ng?’

“As he got worse, he wasn’t allowed to be left alone with food. When we visited one day, we moved him to sort his cushions out and his back was red raw.

“What had happened was they’d left him with apple crumble and custard in bed and the bowl had slipped and gone under his back and the custard had obviously burnt him and he was lying on that, but he didn’t have the ability to be aware of what was hurting him.

“There were so many occasions of him not having his medication on time, because he had to have it at set times to keep the pain relief going so once they missed it, it was like going back to square one.

“I was there one particular day and I went to sit in the room where the residents have breakfast.

“There was this one woman in a wheelchair and she said to one of the carers who was sat at a table, eating a sausage, ‘ excuse me, I need the toilet, I need the toilet.’

“This woman wet herself in front of me. I cried because if that was my mum or my dad...” she trailed off.

“That has just played on my mind since, that poor woman had no one there backing her and that destroyed me.”

‘PARENTS INJURED IN FALLS’ Another Leicesters­hire resident’s mum and dad were in the care home earlier this year.

She claims they both suffered unwitnesse­d falls while they were there.

Both suffered serious injuries that required hospital treatment.

When her parents were discharged from hospital, she had them moved to a different care home.

She said: “We complained from day one that our parents’ care was terrible.

“Mum ended up with a broken collarbone and three fractured ribs. A few days later we were called to tell us that Dad had a suspected broken hip.

“We were advised by (Leicester Royal Infirmary) that my mum’s injuries amounted to a life-shortening incident.

“The CQC investigat­ed and subsequent­ly the manager is no longer there. It’s too little too late, with not so much as an apology.

“The neglect my parents suffered was horrific. As family members, we are their voice and I feel it is so important to highlight these dreadful situations.”


A spokesman for Prime Life Ltd said: “While accepting that our recent Care Quality Commission inspection report raised concerns about the home, I am very proud of the continued hard work and efforts of all of the team at Charnwood Oaks, who continue to work hard to deliver a good-quality service to our clients, and to all of their supporting families.

“The care sector receives constant criticism when things go wrong, but rarely receive thanks or praise when things are done well, and we are disappoint­ed that the focus on the home of late has been largely negative, when the reality is that there are also many positives.

“We don’t always get things right, and we are quick to accept criticism when it is fair, but of late the criticism of the service is unjustifie­d in many ways.

“Our recent inspection report was disappoint­ing but our team has worked tirelessly to remedy the issues identified, and we are pleased that colleagues

They pulled him around at one point and hurt him. I said to her ‘do you understand that he’s got no hip, the pain that he’s in is excruciati­ng?

from our local commission­ers evidenced those improvemen­ts on a recent visit.

“We are also confident that our new management team will continue those improvemen­ts and we look forward to the Care Quality Commission returning.

“In the meantime, I would like to place on record our thanks to all of our existing clients and their families, who continue to support the home with ent husiasm and fairness, and of course to our hard-working staff who rarely get the praise they deserve.” Prime Life Ltd declined to respond to the individual allegation­s levelled against the care home.

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