Scottish care home where 19 residents died in Covid outbreak is slammed by watchdog after inspectors found rooms were not cleaned properly and food was stored in fridge that was switched off
- Lomond Court Nursing Home in Glenrothes, Fife, slammed by Care Inspectorate
- Clean laundry was left on the floor and food kept in a dirty fridge without power
- Inspectorate raised serious concerns around cleanliness after a visit last month
- Significant improvements were made ahead of three subsequent visits
A care home has been slammed for uncleanliness after 19 residents died during the coronavirus pandemic.
Staff at Lomond Court Nursing Home in Glenrothes, Fife, left clean laundry on the floor and uncovered milk and food in a dirty fridge that was not connected to power.
The Care Inspectorate raised serious concerns and judged the home’s care and support as weak.
Lomond Court provides 24-hour nursing care and support to 40 older people with mental frailty but almost half the residents died during one of the worst Covid-19 outbreaks in Fife.
The inspectorate said: ‘Levels of cleanliness were poor and required immediate attention to help minimise the potential spread of infection.’
Residents in Britain’s care homes have been the hardest hit from the pandemic as the virus ripped through communities.
Staff at Lomond Court Nursing Home (pictured) in Glenrothes, Fife, left clean laundry on the floor and uncovered milk and food in a dirty fridge that was not connected to power
‘The management of clinical waste was not satisfactory which caused risks to staff, people living in the home and visitors,’ the report added.
It said practices had a ‘significant impact on the wellbeing of people experiencing care’, adding that welfare and safety was compromised by ‘risks which could be avoided’.
The home’s owner, HC-One, acknowledged its standards were not high enough but said issues were rectified immediately.
It comes two years after HC-One was fined £270,000 because a resident died from eating chlorine cleaning tablets left in an unattended open box in August 2015.
The first Covid-19 case was identified in December 2020 and a total of 31 elderly people had tested positive by the middle of last month.
A further 40 staff and others linked to the home also tested positive. On January 7 the HC-One run facility was closed to new admissions to stem the spread of the virus and it is now covid-free.
Scotland’s care regulator issued a letter of serious concern following an unannounced visit on January 12.
The Care Inspectorate also raised significant concerns about how the home’s laundry was managed after finding clean items on the floor.
Uncovered food and milk was stored in a dirty fridge that was not switched on.
‘We determined there was no shared sense of responsibility or clarity among staff about their roles in ensuring the environment and equipment was clean and free from infection,’ the inspectors said.
‘All of these issues increased the risks of infection to everyone in the home.
A spokesperson for HC-One said the firm was confident inspectors would find further improvements at their next visit (file image)
‘People experiencing care were not appropriately protected because there was not adequate cleaning of the care home.’
What are the current rules for visiting care homes?
Care homes across the UK are still offering outdoor visiting and ‘screened’ visits during the lockdown.
Government guidance says these should always be an option because visits are ‘crucially important for maintaining health and wellbeing and quality of life for residents’.
As well as maintaining social distance, visitors have to adhere to hand hygiene protocols and in some cases wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including aprons, masks and gloves.
However, care homes can cancel outdoor and screened visits if there is an outbreak in the facility.
Families are only allowed in-person visits in exceptional circumstances, including seeing dying relatives.
This should continue even in the event of clusters within the homes, Number 10 says.
Relatives coming for in-person visits must be tested using rapid lateral flow devices, which give a result within half an hour.
Only after a negative result can the visit continue.
Inspectors found ‘significant improvements’ during unannounced follow-up inspections on January 15, 18 and 19.
Some equipment and furniture had been disposed of and the manager introduced enhanced checks to ensure a high standard of cleaning.
‘These improvements help to minimise risk of cross infection for residents and staff,’ inspectors said. ‘We want to be assured that improvements will be sustained and have made a requirement to address this.’
A spokesperson for HC-One said the firm was confident inspectors would find further improvements at their next visit.
Staff are doing all they can to support the families of those who died, the spokesperson said.
‘Residents become part of our family and their loss is felt deeply by carers who have built relationships with them over many years,’ they said.
‘The health, safety and wellbeing of our residents is our number one priority, and we take all feedback from the Care Inspectorate very seriously.
‘We were therefore disappointed by the Care Inspectorate’s findings and we acknowledge we had not achieved the high standards our residents rightfully expect and deserve.
‘We took action to rectify the issues identified immediately and we have received positive reports on our progress since.’
The statement went on: ‘The inspection report highlights that “staff had worked very hard and made significant improvements in the cleanliness of the environment”.’
‘Our team are continuing to work diligently to ensure all feedback is addressed, the home has been provided extra support at a local and senior level and each resident’s care plan is being reviewed and updated as appropriate.
‘We are confident that the home has high standards of infection control which allow our colleagues to deliver the safest and highest quality care.
‘We are working closely with all relevant authorities and we are certain that the Care Inspectorate will be able to see further improvements at our next inspection.’
Care home coronavirus deaths nearly tripled in a fortnight, damning official figures showed on Tuesday, January 26, as the disease made a deadly resurgence in the sector.
The UK’s national statistics body found 1,705 care home residents died from the virus in the week ending January 22, up from 661 the fortnight before
The UK’s national statistics body found 1,705 care home residents died from the virus in the week ending January 22, up from 661 the fortnight before.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed care home residents make up almost a third of all Covid-19 fatalities.
Human rights group Amnesty International told MailOnline it suspects the resurgence of the virus in care homes was linked to the Government’s controversial policy to continue to send Covid patients discharged from hospitals back into care homes.
Under the scheme, designed to free up hospital beds and protect the NHS, care homes which pass inspection and are deemed Covid-secure are asked to house infected patients.
Other experts have said that when transmission is allowed to spiral in the community – there are thought to be about 100,000 new infections in the UK every day – it will always trickle into care homes through asymptomatic staff and claim lives.
More than 20,000 care home residents died from Covid-19 during the first wave of the pandemic and experts say the decision to discharge thousands of untested hospital patients into care homes in spring was partly to blame.
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