'Dirty', 'smelly' Sidmouth care home closed following unexpected death
PUBLISHED: 15:39 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:39 12 April 2019
Picture: Google Maps
Following the death of an 83-year-old resident, a care home described as 'dirty and smelly' by inspectors has closed down.
Police are investigating the ‘unexplained’ death in early January of the resident of Bindon Residential Home in Sidmouth.
Officers say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the enquiry and no arrests have been made. Staff and residents at the home are continuing to assist police with enquires.
Regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced inspection at the home in February. It followed the resident’s death, as well as reports from health and care professionals, anonymous whistleblowers and family members.
On arrival, they found several en-suite toilets that were heavily soiled with faecal matter and bedrooms that smelt of urine and faeces. Bedroom floors were also dirty as was the furniture and some rooms had mould in them.
At the time of the inspection 33 residents were living at the home, which provided care for older people, most living with dementia. The home was separated into two different areas called Bindon and Elmcroft. Since its closure last week most of the residents have been found new homes.
The CQC report states that some residents were not kept ‘safe’ at the home and were ‘at risk of avoidable harm’.
One resident, who had a number of falls, was assessed as a ‘high falls risk’ in December 2018. Although their care plan said they had no falls in the past year, they in fact had six in January 2019 alone.
Another person, who was diabetic, was supposed to have weekly blood sugar measurements but records showed they had only been monitored four times since September 2018.
Inspectors found staffing was a major issue, with staff saying ‘we are pulled in all directions’.
The only time they had to interact with residents was when they were delivering personal care. Some residents stayed in their bedrooms for all or most of the day, putting them at risk of isolation.
Inspectors said they found one person in Elmcroft slumped over a table in the dining area. They said they were there for several hours with very little personal intervention from staff and no offers to be moved into a more comfortable position.
Inspectors found the laundry room was overflowing with dirty linen. Some items were heavily soiled and left on the sink area so piled up staff could not wash their hands easily.
It was found that residents’ personal care was poorly attended to and most of them appeared dishevelled. Several people were in ‘dirty, mismatched and un-ironed clothes’ and had long dirty finger nails, and mouth care for some was poor.
Staff told inspectors there was often no personal care products, flannels and towels in bedrooms. One said: “One lady had no pads in her room, all she had was a toothbrush and toothpaste, when I came back several days later she still didn’t have any toiletries... Another resident didn’t have any soap, it’s a recurring issue and it’s so irritating. You go to someone’s room and you have to run around looking for essentials.”
The report states that peoples’ medicines were not always managed safely and that records did not allow the staff to be sure that residents had received it properly.
Inspectors said some staff were not discrete, and discussed people’s care needs in the communal areas - including about who needed assistance with using the toilet.
The report says: “This did not respect people’s privacy or promote their personal dignity.”
A new manager was appointed at the home in November 2018, but had not yet registered with the Care Quality Commission.
The report states that the manager did not have the support and resources to make the necessary improvements.
It notes that not enough staff members were given the necessary training. It says they were not qualified, skilled and experienced enough to meet people’s needs, or to ensure the home was clean and hygienic.
The information shared with the CQC about the fatal fall of the 83-year-old indicated potential concerns about the management of risk of falls and the use of equipment to reduce risk.
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: “Police can confirm that they are investigating the unexplained death of an 83-year-old female from Sidmouth.
“At just after midnight on January 6, 2019 Devon and Cornwall Police were informed by the South West Ambulance service of the death of an 83-year-old female who was a resident at Bindon Care Home, Sidmouth.
“Whilst unexplained police can confirm that they are not looking for anyone else in connection with this enquiry and no arrests have been made. The staff and residents of Bindon Care Home are continuing to assist local officers with enquires.
“The next of kin have been informed.”
The CQC rating of the home was ‘inadequate’. Click here to read the full report.