Bassetlaw care home placed in special measures as staff report being assaulted on ‘a daily basis’

A Bassetlaw care home was placed in special measures after staff members claimed they were being left with ‘bruises and black eyes’ after being ‘physically assaulted’ by residents.

By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 1st November 2021, 4:10 pm
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Care Quality Commission (CQC) logo badge

Beeches Care Home, in South Leverton, was visited by the Care Quality Commission earlier this year and has since been rated inadequate following a string of incidents and breaches of the Health and Social Care Act.

The home, in Retford Road, provided care to 12 people with autism and learning disabilities at the time of inspection.

A spokesperson for Cygnet, which runs the home, said they were “extremely disappointed” with the rating and claimed that most of the assaults related to one resident.

One member of staff told inspectors, who previously rated the home as ‘good’ that “more often than not, there are days where we can spend six or seven hours of the shift being physically assaulted and it just gets brushed under the carpet.”

A CQC report published last month stated: “Staff protected people from injury but there was a high frequency of incidents at the care home in which staff members were injured.

“A staff member told us, ‘Our restraint techniques don’t always work on these residents, for different reasons, and this makes it dangerous to work with them for risk of injury to yourself or them’.

“This was confirmed by our observation of two incidents when staff were injured while attempting to implement a restraint on a person who was agitated and posed a risk to themselves and others.”

Another member of staff told inspectors that getting hurt was a “daily occurrence”.

They said: “Not small injuries; but getting covered in bruises, black eyes, or bitten, we get told it’s your job!”

Inspectors also found that the care home was not hygienic, meaning staff and residents were “at an increased risk of harm”.

They found that one bedroom was “unacceptably malodorous” and another resident’s mattress was in an “unhygienic condition”.

Another resident’s room was completely empty of furniture and decoration, only housing “a bare mattress on the concrete floor” – which staff said was to do with the person’s behaviours.

But one relative of a resident said they had “nothing but praise” for the staff at the home, who kept them informed during the pandemic.

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The CQC has the option to cancel the provider’s registration or re-inspect within six months to check for improvements.

A spokesperson for Cygnet Beeches said: “We are obviously very disappointed with the rating, particularly as Cygnet Beeches has for many years been singled out for its high-quality services and enjoys the continued support of residents’ families, which is highlighted in the report.

“We take the CQC’s concerns extremely seriously, and we are doing everything we can to urgently address the issues raised in the report.

"Since last July, we have carried out extensive improvements to the estate, and we are working closely with our quality team to ensure all our systems and processes are being used effectively, and lessons learned are shared to improve the care we provide.

“The safety and wellbeing of our staff is a top priority and we appreciate the tremendous dedication and care they show.

"Most of the assaults on staff relate to one resident, and we have been working closely with our commissioners to review and manage risks to keep both staff and residents safe.

“As a result, the number of reported incidents has significantly reduced, and there are robust protocols in place to ensure staff are properly supported.

“Despite a well-recognised national shortage of staff across the sector, Cygnet Beeches has always been able to maintain a safe level of staffing, and we continue to actively recruit more staff.

“The report does not reflect the high standards we set ourselves, and we are committed to working closely with the CQC and our commissioners, as well as our residents and their families and carers, to quickly resolve the issues.”