Fears of “inhumane” treatment of care home residents have been raised following the publication of the latest report summarising the findings of inspections of premises.
The concerns were raised by Labour after the Care Inspectorate’s latest fortnightly report was laid before the Scottish Parliament.
The 34-page report found that 11 out of 41 care homes were graded “weak” in at least one category.
Among those mentioned were the Balhousie Huntly care home, which was rated “weak” for infection prevention and staff arrangements, and the ASC Orchard Court and Dalguise, Balbeggie.
The ASC Orchard Court was rated “weak” on staffing arrangements and people’s health and well-being.
Inspectors came to Balhousie Huntly last month to examine the home looking after 65 elderly people.
Although staff were friendly and treated residents with respect, there were concerns they were “not following current guidance on infection prevention and control practices and were unable to access the latest guidance”.
The report added: “Staff did not wash their hands frequently nor provide support to people to wash their hands… The service did not have a staffing contingency plan in the event of absence of carers and nurses.”
Inspectors visited ASC Orchard Court, a home looking after 24 adults with learning disabilities, on September 16.
Their comments included: “People were subject to high levels of physical restraint, leading to poor outcomes for people and increased risks to physical injury and emotional wellbeing.”
‘This is inhumane…’
Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “The health and well-being of residents should be paramount, especially during a pandemic.
“Poor cleanliness, inappropriate use of PPE and sloppy infection prevention and control are not acceptable.”
Ms Lennon added that inspectors had identified “excessive use of physical restraint”.
“This is inhumane and reinforces Scottish Labour’s concerns about the postcode lottery of care in Scotland’s care homes.
Family caregivers must be supported to play an active role in the care of their loved ones, right across the country.”
“We have urged SNP Ministers to move at pace to deliver a National Care Service, and we have secured a human rights-based public inquiry into the Scottish Government’s pandemic response.
“Transparency is vital, and these Care Inspectorate reports are being published because of our intervention. More regular inspections are needed and faster improvements when concerns are identified.
“Family caregivers must be supported to play an active role in the care of their loved ones, right across the country.”
Inspections by the care standards watchdog must be laid in the Scottish Parliament fortnightly, following an amendment by Ms Lennon to the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020.
Firm has been ‘implementing required improvements’
When the results of the Huntly home’s inspection was first announced, Balhousie Care Group said the firm had been committed to following “the most rigorous infection control protocols”.
A spokeswoman for the company said Balhousie Huntly has remained Covid-19 free since the beginning of the pandemic and added: “Protecting the health and wellbeing of our residents is of huge importance to us.
“We take the Care Inspectorate’s feedback very seriously and have been implementing the required improvements within the home.”
In the past ASC, which stands for Advanced Specialist Care and is part of the Balhousie Care Group, has said it is “working hard to address certain service aspects” of its facility.
It has also underlined its commitment to “providing the highest level of support to our service users in a way that promotes independence in a safe and secure environment”.
A Balhousie Care Group spokeswoman said: “Throughout the coronavirus crisis, Balhousie Care Group has remained committed to making sure our residents and service users are safe and secure whilst heading off the extreme challenges and restrictions the crisis has created for care operators. We work closely with our local health and social care partnerships to ensure that, if improvements are needed, they are quickly met.
“We strongly refute the Scottish Labour Party’s allegations and are disheartened by the broadbrush approach of Ms Lennon’s report.”
A Scottish Government spokesman added: “The Scottish Government has established an independent review of adult social care with a human-rights based approach to consider what changes are required to achieve the highest standards of support for the independence and wellbeing of people who use adult social care support.”