A failing Blackpool care home has been blasted after inspectors found locks on the OUTSIDE of people’s bedroom doors which could be used to shut them inside.
A damning report into the way the Orchard Lodge Care Home, on Lytham Road, is run uncovered a catalogue of failings, including pages missing from the accident log book.
One resident was found by inspectors cold, dehydrated and unable to get out of bed – having been left waiting for two hours.
And an inspection of the home also uncovered sliding bolts on the outside of bedroom doors that “allow other people or a member of staff to lock the occupant in their bedroom”.
Now council chiefs have threatened to terminate the South Shore facility’s contract and have given bosses three months to make “rapid” and “sustained” improvements.
The care home, run by Dharma Ltd, is now looking for new owners in the wake of the report, published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which branded the home “inadequate”.
Debbie Westhead, the regulator’s deputy chief inspector of adult social care in the North, said: “It is unacceptable that the people living at Orchard Lodge Care Home were not being provided with good quality, consistent and reliable care.
“We are liaising closely with Blackpool Council to safeguard the wellbeing of everyone who lives at the home and we continue to monitor this provider very carefully to check that the required improvements are made.”
She said “urgent” action is needed to address concerns raised in seven warning notices issued to bosses. They relate to safety, hygiene and staff training.
Blackpool Council has served notice to end its contract with the care home, which allows local authority funded residents to stay there, on June 9.
However, it is considering a proposal involving a complete change of leadership that could see the deal continue past that date if the required improvements are made.
Failing that, affected residents would be faced with having to move out or find alternative funding.
On November 27 last year, CQC inspectors carried out an unannounced inspection of the Lytham Road facility. Among the concerns raised in the report were:
• A fire door was found blocked by wheelchairs
• Residents’ monitoring charts had been filled in before the checks were due to have taken place
• Sliding bolts on the outside of bedroom doors that “allow other people or a member of staff to lock the occupant in their bedroom”.
If the locks were used, it would have placed “severe and unnecessary” limits on people’s freedom, the report added.
The CQC said such locks can be acceptable but only if they are “deemed necessary” for the safety of the person.
A spokesman said: “You need to go through legal procedures before you can start placing any kind of restrictions on a person’s freedom.”
The report said the home has received authorisation to deprive one person of their liberty but had not informed the CQC.
The regulator raised its concerns directly with Blackpool Council after one resident had been left unable to get out of bed.
The report said: “This person was distressed and had dried, cracked lips with only a cold beaker of coffee on their bedside table.
“The call bell was out of reach, the room was cold and the individual was half undressed, with only a sheet to cover them.
“Inappropriate equipment had been put in place that restrained their movement and prevented them from getting out of bed. The person told us they had been asking to get up for over two hours.”
The report found staff at the home were “caring” but overworked. However, it also raised concerns over inadequate training.
It quoted a visiting district nurse who said: “I think there’s a real issue with training and staff experience and continuity of care. Some staff are good, some not so good. I often have to repeat information to make sure staff understand.
“Even basic care tasks some staff don’t understand. So the training needs to improve.”
A visiting health professional is also quoted as saying: “It’s not the best home, especially if I think about whether I would want my family member staying here.”
Delyth Curtis, Blackpool Council’s director of people, said the decision to pull patients out of the care home if it fails to improve had “not been taken lightly”.
Residents, family members and staff have all been informed of the situation.
The CQC said it will carry out a follow-up inspection to ensure its concerns have been addressed.
Despite repeated attempts by The Gazette to contact the care home’s management, no one was available for comment.