Inspectors reviewing a Pitlochry care home after a damning inspection last year have identified a lack of progress – including contaminated mattresses and poor end-of-life care.
Improvements were ordered at the Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home by January 15, a deadline the operator previously said was on target.
But the Care Inspectorate has now issued a second improvement notice with a fresh deadline.
It follows a visit to the Pitlochry facility in December where inspectors found inadequate bedding and “severely underweight” residents not being monitored correctly.
The team sent to probe the home issued a letter of serious concern before returning.
The home has voluntarily closed to new residents while improvements are made.
Daughter’s concerns about Pitlochry care home
We reported in January how the relative of one resident said they did not believe sufficient changes had been made ahead of the January 15 deadline.
She shared concerns about her mother’s care, claiming food preferences were repeatedly ignored – an issue raised by inspectors in their August and December reports.
The December report, which was published on February 3, identified “significant concerns”.
It explains: “We had significant concerns regarding the cleanliness of the environment and end of life care and issued a letter of serious concern on December 7, giving 48 hours to rectify this.
“We returned to the service on December 10, although the provider had made some progress, cleanliness was not yet at an adequate standard.”
The inspectors then carried out a full inspection before issuing a further improvement notice on December 21.
Damaged and contaminated bedding replaced
During the pre-Christmas visit it was found that not enough staff were on duty to provide the care and support needed.
Residents were also found to have inadequate bedding and contaminated mattresses.
Other areas of concern included:
- Action not taken to protect people identified as being at high risk of malnutrition, with severely underweight residents not weighed in line with guidelines
- Kitchen team “unaware” of individual needs
- People’s pain not recognised and addressed appropriately, with concerns raised about the administration of medication
- People’s possessions not stored in a dignified manner after their death.
In addition, inspectors said there was a “lack of clinical oversight”.
Second improvement notice
The Care Inspectorate has now issued litany of improvement which is says must be completed by February 19.
This includes a requirement that those cared for at the home are provided with support to eat and drink in line with their needs.
Urgent action on the cleanliness of the home is also necessary, as well as a requirement for sufficient numbers of staff to be on duty.
A spokeswoman for Balhousie Care Group said they maintained confidence in their Pitclochry home’s leadership.
She said “We were deeply disappointed with the Care Inspectorate’s gradings for Pitlochry, last December, which in no way reflect the standards of care we expect and strive for throughout the group.
“Our residents and their utmost care are our clear focus along with the drive to successfully recover and exceed our expected standards.
‘Staffing crisis at heart of extreme pressures’
“As the report states, improvements had already been made, such that the Care Inspectorate were happy to extend their deadline to allow the successful completion of the action plan already well underway.”
The care company says it working on the improvement “round-the-clock”, but noted nationwide recruitment challenges which are posing challenges – especially in rural areas.
The spokeswoman added: “The report also notes how our dedicated Pitlochry team have persevered through these pressures and we continue to invest heavily in our recruitment outreach in every way while Pitlochry remains a notoriously difficult area to attract staff.”
A spokesperson for Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership said it was working closely with the care watchdog and providing enhanced support to managers at the home.
They added: “In addition, our health and care staff are overseeing and monitoring residents to ensure their needs are met.”