UPDATE: Bexhill rest home ‘requires improvement’, say inspectors

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A rest home for people with dementia has been told by health inspectors it needs to improve its services in several areas.

St Michael’s Rest Home, in Cooden Drive, Bexhill, was rated as ‘good’ for being safe and well-led by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

However, inspectors said the home needed improvement in three areas, namely being caring, effective and responsive.

St Michael’s Rest Home provides support for up to 30 people with dementia.

Inspectors in the report said: “Staff treated people with kindness and respect, but did not always respond appropriately to requests from people. Staff demonstrated a caring attitude and they spoke with people appropriately, with eye to eye contact.

“They were attentive to people and although they didn’t actively engage with everybody they acknowledged people most of the time. The registered manager and staff approach was to promote independence and encourage people to make their own decisions.

“People decided how they spent their time and activities were provided, but these were not based on people’s preferences.

“Quality assurance audits had been started to identify and address any areas where improvements were needed, but having only just started there was no clear evidence of change.

“There were lines of accountability and staff were aware of their roles and responsibilities. People, relatives and staff were encouraged to provide feedback about the support and care provided.”

The CQC commended the home for being safe.

The report added: “Medicines were administered safely and administration records were up to date. Staff had attended safeguarding training and had an understanding of abuse and how to protect people.”

Inspectors said the home was ‘well-maintained’ and recruitment procedures were ‘robust’ to ensure only suitable people worked there.

The inspection was carried out in February with the CQC report published recently.

In response to the report, St Michael’s Rest Home said in a statement: “Staff meetings are carried out regularly and this issue (not always responding appropriately to requests from people) was discussed with all staff members, further training has been provided in this area and staff members now have the skills to meet the requirements as set out by the CQC.

“Referring back to the CQC report the resident which the inspector spoke about would eat and drink all day if he had the chance to the point of becoming ill.

“The only thing that the staff member did wrong was to not verbally respond to the resident. What the CQC does not realise having only met the residents for a few moments, was that they are all individuals and that they have different needs and behaviours that they cannot understand in the short time that they are present in a home.

“This issue was not brought up on the day that it was witnessed but read about in the report. The staff were spoken to immediately after reading the report, the staff member had not realised that she had not responded and apologised. “This is a minor issue and no intentional harm was meant by it, this is not a serious act of misconduct.

“The staff at St Michael’s are very caring and ensure that all residents have the care and attention that they require. This is done through conversation, acknowledgement and inclusion.

“The residents are happy and encouraged to be as independent as possible. CQC inspectors spend a very small amount of time watching interactions between staff and residents.

“When working in a care environment such as a care home, we take advice from professionals. This includes GPs, mental health practitioners and other departments who have more knowledge than ourselves. We sought advice and actions are taken in each service user’s best interests and seek approval from the interested professionals.

“There is an activities folder in the office that has been in place for years, each month they put pictures of residents and relatives completing activities and there is also a form that shows what activities each person has participated in over the month.

“By completing this they can tailor the next month’s activities according to what activities the residents had participated in and enjoyed. Activities include live entertainment, animals, pet therapy, gentlemen’s afternoons, ladies afternoons but this was refused. As was seen on the first day of the inspection, the residents also go out regularly on trips.

“They visit the local dementia action alliance group ‘singing down memory lane’ where they meet new people, sing songs, have tea and take part in a raffle. The report states that there were no negative comments from the relatives about the lack of activities.”

St Michael’s said the home had a very high rating on www.carehome.co.uk, a website that provides ratings from service users for care homes across the UK.

“Our rating on this site as of reviews within the last 12 months is very high a score of 9.4 out of 10.0,” St Michael’s said in its statement.

It adds: “We have carried out all of the recommendations and all relevant actions have taken place since the CQC inspection.

“All these issues were challenged when the draft inspection report was sent to the manager. CQC’s response was that the manager had not explained this on the day of the inspection. CQC inspected St Michael’s at the beginning of February and the current manager had only been in post for four weeks. Any person, in any profession, cannot remember every aspect to the way that a company works in such a short time.

“The first few weeks is about getting to know the residents, the staff and looking at how the home works.”

To read the full CQC report on St Michael’s go to www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-154187398.

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