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Whitstable Care Home threatened with closure after damning report reveals catalogue of failures

The Whitstable Nursing Home faces criminal sanctions or even closure
The Whitstable Nursing Home faces criminal sanctions or even closure

An under-fire care home was warned it faced criminal sanctions after a shocking report uncovered a catalogue of serious failures.

The owners of Whitstable Nursing Home were hit with the ultimatum after a surprise inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) discovered:

  • The home was dirty and reeked of urine
  • One resident was “black and blue” after five falls in two weeks
  • Personal items were disappearing
  • Residents were drinking out of brown-stained cups
  • People feared for the safety of relatives at the home

The report, published last week, ruled the private care home in Westcliff, Whitstable, failed to meet any of five expected standards.

One relative told the inspectors: “I come in every day and check for myself as I do not feel X is safe.

“X has had quite a lot of falls. Sometimes I come in and some faces are black and blue. I don’t know what would happen to X if I didn’t come.”

Shockingly, the report found patients were ignored even when in visible pain, and “were not protected from the risk of unsafe care”.

Another relative said: “My relative has had quite a lot of falls. They (staff) say they were ‘found on the floor’. Their face was black and blue.”

The report reveals a number of belongings, including jewellery, clothing and glasses, routinely went missing.

The Whitstable Nursing Home has been told it “requires improvement”. Picture: Paul Amos
The Whitstable Nursing Home has been told it “requires improvement”. Picture: Paul Amos

One told the inspectors: “I had enough shirts to fill M&S but this morning they told me I did not have a shirt to put on.

“You do not always get your clothes back; lots of my things have gone missing.”

A relative of another added: “X has lost so much stuff in the last five years.

“Three rings, bottom denture, dressing gowns and now their glasses. Everything was named. I report it but never hear anything. I have had to bring an old pair of glasses in from home.”

On its website the home boasts of its “unique character” and “home-like environment”, but inspectors found it reeked of urine, and furniture, carpets and toilets were all stained and dirty.

One relative said: “It is really awful, the cleanliness is terrible. I brought my own air freshener in as it always smells.”

One patient showed inspectors a brown-stained cup, saying: “It’s rubbish. Look at that. You would think they would try to clean them or throw them away. It’s a bit grotty isn’t it?”

“I come in every day and check for myself as I do not feel X is safe" - what one relative told inspectors

Inspectors also found a dresser covered in soil and dirt and a stained bed pan lying in a sink.

They also discovered staff were “undertrained, unsupported and undermanned”, with the last official training held more than three years ago.

Owners Unique Help Group were threatened with criminal sanctions and even closure unless improvements were made after the inspection in April.

This week, director Jeremy Ball said issues had been dealt with.

He said: “The residents, their families and the home staff have all gone through an unsettled and distressing period, and have fully recovered and are happy and settled.

"In February of this year, the manager of Whitstable Nursing Home resigned without working her notice period. CQC visited the home on April 22, 2013, before the new manager was put in post.

“The new manager is very experienced, having worked for a number of years within the care industry, with a reputation for successfully turning failing care homes around within a short period.

“A number of senior staff members have been replaced, including staff nurse, care assistants and an activity co-ordinator.

“All staff have been retrained in all appropriate areas to make sure that they are competent in their duties, and to take responsibility for their actions.”

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