Care home residents left to 'strip wash at hand basin’ after lift breaks

Brookwood Manor Sudbury care home sign

Brookwood Manor, in Little Waldingfield near Sudbury, has been revisited by the Care Quality Commission - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

A care home housing dementia patients has come under fire from health inspectors after a broken lift shaft left vulnerable residents unable to access bathing facilities.

Independent regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revisited Brookwood Manor Care Home in Little Waldingfield, near Sudbury, in late May.

In March, the 28-bed home was placed into special measures after the CQC gave it its lowest-possible rating of ‘inadequate' for safety and leadership, with ‘good’ ratings given for effectiveness, responsiveness and care.

CQC inspectors wrote in a report published after their May visit that, supported by Suffolk County Council, 17 people had left the home or found alternative accommodation.

Previously, bosses at the home said that some residents had displayed challenging behaviour through the Covid lockdown and had been moved to more appropriate services.
They did not provide a comment on the CQC’s most recent inspection.

Some safety improvements had been made, inspectors wrote in their report - with action taken to reduce fire risks, infection control, and risks of legionella.

However, assessors - who carried out a focused inspection specifically investigating the safety of the home - raised particular concerns about a shaft lift that had been closed for maintenance four days before the CQC visited.

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In February, serious concerns had been identified about people becoming trapped if they used the lift. 

CQC bosses said no prompt action had been taken to address this risk, but on May 20, four days before their inspection, a lift engineer had visited and removed the weights to ensure the lift could not be used.

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It meant there was no access to the first and second floor using this lift, with the CQC adding that stairs to the upper floors could only be used by those who were fully mobile and capable.

There were no bathing or shower facilities on the ground floor, inspectors wrote in their report - with workmen digging up the drains to create a wet room during the CQC’s visit.

CQC chiefs said: “This meant that currently people, some of whom were incontinent, had to suffice with a strip wash at a hand basin. This also posed a significant lack of dignity.”

However, inspectors said they were more assured that the provider of the service, Blue Ocean Brookwood Ltd, was doing all that it could to ensure people were protected from infections, including Covid-19.

It was more consistently following Government guidance on PPE, cleaning regimes and social distancing, they wrote.

Despite some improvements, inspectors said their visit had uncovered evidence that people were at potential risk of harm.

The facility, in Holbrook Hall Park, remains under close review and will be revisited again for a full inspection within six months.

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