Management at a Perthshire care home have been told by inspectors their care and support during the Covid-19 pandemic has been weak.
A Care Inspectorate team arrived at Balhousie Dalnaglar care home in Crieff to conduct an unannounced visit to examine the delivery of care specifically relating to coronavirus.
Inspectors published their findings, labelling aspects of the Strathearn home’s coronavirus care as “weak.”
New management had recently taken over at the Comrie Road site, where staff were found to have no had specific Covid-19 infection prevention and control training throughout lockdown.
While enough PPE was available, some employees were found to be not using the safety equipment.
The report states: “Most staff were wearing PPE appropriately, however there were a few staff who were not and this was highlighted to the manager at the visit.”
Inspectors did not observe people who used the service being encouraged and supported by staff to wash their hands frequently.
Social distancing was being observed at the home, which has space for 40 elderly residents, to the point that most residents were being cared for in their own private rooms.
However, the length of time residents were being left alone by staff, some without call-nurse buttons, was deemed too long.
Some relatives had visited the service to see their loved ones through the windows and video and telephone calls were being used to keep families connected.
However, care inspectors said the lack of interaction between staff and residents in their rooms – especially as no activity schedule was in place at the time – was a cause for concern.
The report states: “We had concerns that some people in their bedrooms were not receiving the adequate support to ensure sufficient fluids were being taken throughout the day with a potential risk leading to dehydration.
“There was little evidence fluid intake was being accurately and closely monitored.”
The inspector said: “People were overall complying with social distancing and it was concluded residents were not benefiting from regular interactions and engagement from staff, and experiencing support that promotes independence, dignity,
privacy and choice.
“This includes encouragement and resources to take part in meaningful occupations that validate the person’s identity, and providing opportunities to feel included and attached to others, resulting in psychological comfort and minimising the risk of social isolation and poor mental wellbeing.”
Staff had been given a deadline of June 28 make improvements.
Group chairman Tony Banks blamed government and local authority mismanagement for the care homes crisis throughout the opening weeks of the pandemic.
A Balhousie Care Group spokesperson said: “Feedback has been positive among relatives and loved ones for how we have supported and cared for our residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This was evident, too, in all of the comments from residents quoted in the Care Inspectorate’s recent report.
“We worked immediately to address the Care Inspectorate’s concerns and remain committed to providing quality care both at Dalnaglar and across the Balhousie group.
“We look forward to Dalnaglar’s new manager sharing her plans for the home with relatives soon.”