CARE homes in Pendle are failing to meet the needs of the people they are supposed to be looking after, according to a damning review.
The report by Pendle Council into the County Council’s management and regulation of the 31 care homes in the borough highlighted one family which was said to have been “consistently failed.”
It goes on to claim that: vulnerable adults are not always being adequately protected and described ’safeguarding’ as being ‘largely unexplored.’ Pendle councillor also urge that unannounced ‘mystery shopper’ inspections should take place at the homes which are almost all owned by companies or families.
Particular concerns were also raised about the commitment of staff and the complaints procedure and the way they are dealt with.
Councillors in Pendle branded the findings “shocking” while bosses at Lancashire County Council, who regulate care homes in the borough, said they will be arranging a meeting with the panel to discuss them.
Six Pendle councillors interviewed witnesses who had experienced care homes and management before producing their eight-page draft report.
Coun Mohammed Iqbal, leader of the Labour party on Pendle Council, said: “It is quite clearly shocking that here in Pendle we have the county council’s cabinet member responsible for social care yet he is failing in his duty of protecting his own residents.
“It is quite clear that the county council need to invest some money in care homes in Pendle rather than closing so many of them down.
“Parts of Pendle are very well populated by elderly people so this is going to be a big concern for them.”
The scrutiny review was suggested to Pendle Council by two residents who said they had experienced poor standards of care.
They have refused to identify the residents or the homes involved.
The report said that more ‘unannounced’ inspections needed to take place at care homes, that tracking of staff providing a poor service should be easier and that the complaints procedure should be simplified.
In conclusion the report said: “The facts remain that in this case it appears that systems consistently failed the family.
“Although this particular case was investigated by the County Council the family was not satisfied by the outcome.
“We remain concerned that the needs of those receiving care in care homes are not always being met and that vulnerable adults are not always being adequately protected.”
Coun Graham Roach, who led the report, said: “The issue came up after we were contacted by two residents concerned at the standards of care in care homes.
“We looked at a general view of all the care homes in the area, and as with all things there are some good and some bad.”
Ann Mylie, Lancashire County Council's head of quality and contracts, said: “This is a draft report which has yet to be finalised.
“We are committed to ensuring that people in residential homes receive the best care possible, and Keith Bailey, deputy chair of the county council's health scrutiny committee, has invited members of Pendle Council's Scrutiny Panel to discuss the report at a meeting in January.”
Coun Mike Calvert, who is a Pendle councillor and county councillor responsible for social care, could not be contacted to comment.
The report concludes
- “The facts remain that in this case systems consistently failed the family.”
- “We remain concerned that the needs of those receiving care in care homes are not always being met and that vulnerable adults are not always being adequately protected.”
- “Where there is evidence of neglect and abuse, this must be urgently addressed and indeed procedures put in place to prevent it.”
- “The absence of representation from the Safeguarding and Complaints Teams meant that these aspects of the service were largely unexplored.”
- “Further clarification is needed... of the complaints procedure so that improvements aimed at ensuring the swift resolution of complaints and concerns can be considered.”
- It also calls for discussion with county council officials on:
- Accessibility to useful information to help in deciding which home to choose.
- The need for at least some local authority inspections to be unannounced or for “mystery shopping” to take place.
- The need to improve the amount of feedback received from residents and their families by ensuring that people do not feel frightened of repercussions in expressing their honest views.
- The ability to be able to track care workers who are known to provide poor levels of care, are negligent in their duties or who are abusive.
- The need for a simple and straightforward complaints procedure which is accessible and responsive and the need for immediate access to a relevant person in the event of serious concerns.