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‘Unclean’ Pitlochry care home given improvement notice by watchdog

The home has been given until November 20 to improve.

Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home, where the inspection was carried out
Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home. Image: Dougie Nicolson/DC Thomson.

A Pitlochry care home that was deemed by the Care Inspectorate to be unclean and containing a strong malodour has been served another improvement notice.

Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home originally came under fire in December 2022 after a series of issues were discovered – including inadequate bedding and “severely underweight” residents. It was served an improvement notice.

In a follow-up in April this year, the situation was found to have improved and proposals to remove the care home’s registration were scrapped.

However, the home is once again under fire after an inspection on August 15, 16 and 18 found the home to be unclean, understaffed and containing a strong malodour.

‘Strong malodour’ in Pitlochry care home

The care home has been issued another improvement notice from the watchdog and has until November 20 to make significant improvements.

A number of issues were raised in the unannounced inspection of the care home, which is registered to care for up to 50 people, including:

  • Unclean environment, furnishings and equipment and a strong malodour in areas of the home
  • Insufficient domestic staff to maintain cleanliness
  • People’s continence needs not managed effectively or with dignity
  • Not enough support given for people to maintain their nutrition and fluid intake effectively
  • Service not managed in a manner that resulted in people’s health safety and wellbeing needs being met.

According to the report, housekeeping staff “did not feel like they had the time to clean furniture and equipment effectively”.

Inspectors were also not satisfied that people’s continence needs were being met, with one family claiming they had to wait nearly an hour for their relative to have their pads changed.

Balhouse management told the Care Inspectorate it had ‘no issues’ with staffing levels. Image: Shutterstock.

Despite assurances from management that there were “no issues” with staffing levels, inspectors found these had a “detrimental impact” on the residents.

Due to concerns regarding the cleanliness, the home was given a letter of serious concern on August 15 to rectify the problem.

Inspectors returned on August 18 and noted an improvement but found cleanliness was still not at an adequate standard.

The report did state that staff at the home were kind and caring and received positive feedback from family members.

Care home issued improvement notice

Following on from the inspection, the care home was given a notice to make significant improvements by September 24 – this has been extended to November 20.

The care home may be removed from the register should significant improvements not be made within the timescale.

According to the report, improvements made at the home, stated in a report published in June, have not been maintained.

The  Care Inspectorate HQ in Dundee. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson.

Balhousie ‘disappointed’ by inspection report

A spokesperson for Balhousie Group said: “We were desperately disappointed by the Care Inspectorate’s gradings for our Pitlochry care home in August, particularly after sustained and steadfast work to conclude improvements earlier this year.

“We took immediate steps to investigate and address the issues raised to ensure that Pitlochry provides the quality of care expected.

“This work has continued in the two months since the inspection.

“Revisits have seen the CI happy with progress, such that they have extended deadlines to allow completion of the good work underway.

“We continue to wrestle with the challenges of the staffing crisis faced by the social care sector, on which a great deal of this report balances.

“Our Pitlochry team continue determinedly to conclude the necessary improvements with around-the-clock, hands-on support from our operations and quality teams.

“Balhousie Care is fully committed to working closely with the Care Inspectorate and, as always, to the health and wellbeing of our residents.”