Families ‘not informed fast enough’ about Covid outbreaks at care home

Jeian Care Home in Colchester Road, Ipswich

Jeian Care Home in Colchester Road, Ipswich - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

A care home for people with dementia is now in special measures after a health watchdog criticised safety and leadership practices.

Care Quality Commission inspectors highlighted a “lack of transparency and openness” at Jeian Care Home in Ipswich - with staff reluctant to whistleblow and families not told quickly enough about outbreaks of Covid-19.

The independent regulator visited the 12-bed facility in Colchester Road on two occasions in May and June, producing its findings in a report published last month.

It said the visit had been prompted in part by concerns from Suffolk County Council (SCC) over staffing levels and poor morale.

Inspectors rated the home, which can accommodate up to 17 people, as ‘inadequate’ overall - looking at safety and leadership in detail.

Manager Diane Gilardoni said she is working closely with SCC and other agencies to make necessary improvements required by the CQC.

She added: “Our priority at Jeian Care Home continues to be the safety and wellbeing of all of our residents.”

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Staff told inspectors they would be “reluctant” to whistleblow incidents of poor care or harm - adding that they “would not wish to report on their colleagues”.

In their report, CQC chiefs wrote that this demonstrated a “lack of openness and transparency”.

Relatives told assessors that although communication was good, when an incident happened such as a Covid-19 outbreak or an accident, the manager and staff did not inform them in a “timely manner” - or in a transparent way.

According to the report, one family member described workers as being “evasive” when there was a Covid outbreak, while another relative said: “When the outbreak happened, I was only communicated to when I went up there as I used to do window visits. 

“They (staff) didn't tell me by phone. I saw a Covid-19 positive sign on my (family member’s) door."

CQC bosses said relatives felt the time delay and lack of important information about their family members’ wellbeing was not acceptable, with one family adding: “We are not always informed quickly.”

Meanwhile, infection control was found to have improved since the CQC last visited in December 2020 and staff used PPE correctly.

However, the CQC found some staff were not always completing rapid Covid tests just before they started their shift - instead, taking them the night before.

Staff worked hard but there were not enough of them to support people’s needs, inspectors added. 

The home will stay in special measures for at least six months until CQC chiefs are satisfied with improvements.

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