Inspectors have found equipment including mattresses at a Perthshire care home to be soiled and unclean, risking infection.
The report into Balhousie Dalnaglar care home in Comrie Road, Crieff, found care and support during the Covid-19 pandemic to be ‘weak’.
The home provides care and support for older people, including respite care and short breaks.
The report by the Care Inspectorate found that a system was in place to make sure beds and bedding were clean, in good condition and safe to use.
‘Soiled and unclean’
However, inspectors said in their report: “We were not confident that the system in use was effective, as a number of these items were observed to be soiled and unclean.
“We were concerned by the number of weeks that people had been left sleeping on soiled and contaminated mattresses after the issue had been identified.
“The delay in replacing mattresses and bed equipment that was no longer safe or fit for purpose put people at risk of infection, illness, and deterioration of their skin.”
Inspectors also said that while other equipment “was generally clean”, there was, “a lack of attention to detail” in some areas.
‘Thorough cleaning to remove soiling’
“Examination of equipment such as shower chairs and raised toilet seats found that some of these required thorough cleaning to remove soiling,” said the report.
“Some of the pillows in use were in a poor state and had to be replaced. We could not be confident that staff took appropriate action to ensure that equipment and sundries were always clean and fit for use.
“The service should put in place an effective system of checking and reporting to ensure that equipment is clean and fit for purpose.”
Laundry services at the home were also found to be unsafe.
While dirty and clean laundry were well organised, the washing machines were not reaching at least 65C. This meant that staff could not be sure that thermal disinfection for used or contaminated laundry was taking place.
Requirements were put in place by the watchdog, including ensuring equipment is clean and safe to use, including beds and bedding.
Linen to be washed at higher temperature
Mattresses are also to be checked and replaced regularly. And, all linen was to be washed at a temperature above 65C to ensure ‘thermal disinfection’.
However, there were also positives in the report.
Overall there was a high level of satisfaction with very positive feedback about management and the staff team.
Individual comments included: “Staff are kind and helpful.”
‘Staff are very good’
“Staff were amazing at organising my mother’s birthday party and did so well.”
“Staff are very good, they have a nice way with them. They are all extremely nice.”
Inspectors said: “We found a calm, relaxed atmosphere throughout the home and felt that staff supported people in a kind, caring and respectful way. Staff demonstrated a good understanding of the health and social care standards.
“This was reflected in the positive relationships they had with people. Staff clearly knew the residents well.
‘Relaxed, content and confident’
“Throughout the inspection, we saw that staff were attentive and ensured that choice was promoted. This contributed to people being relaxed, content and confident in making their choices and needs known.
“We found that people were supported to communicate in the way that suited people best using a variety of tools and approaches.
“This personalised approach was used at mealtimes and meant that people were
enabled to make their own choices. This supported their independence and provided a positive and enjoyable mealtime experience for people.
Good use of social media for families
“Good use was made of social media to share and communicate with families about activities and events people participated in. This was appreciated by families, particularly when visiting had been restricted.”
Firm ‘acted immediately’
A spokeswoman for Balhousie said: “We are proud of how hard our team at Dalnaglar works to provide the caring, kind and happy service that is described in detail in the Care Inspectorate’s recent inspection report.
“We acted immediately to investigate and address the concerns raised and are committed to ensuring that the requirements are not only met but exceeded and that Dalnaglar continues to go from strength to strength.”