‘Inadequate’ Sunderland care home closes after concerns raised over missing tablets and ‘poor’ leadership

A Sunderland care home has closed its doors after being placed into special measures by care watchdogs.

Rowlandson House was found to be poorly led after inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited between September and October last year.

During the inspection, concerns were raised about the storage of medicines, with missing tablets which couldn’t be accounted for.

The report found some confidential care records were not stored securely, staff lacked information about people’s needs, and residents weren’t given stimulating activities to do.

At the time of the inspection at the home, in Rowlandson Terrace, off Ryhope Road, Ashbrooke, it had 21 residents, most of whom had dementia.

Read more: Admissions halted at Sunderland care home rated ‘inadequate’ by inspectors

This month, care home bosses made the decision to close the home with Sunderland City Council and Sunderland’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) supporting patients and staff.

At the CCG’s governing body meeting last week (January 29), health bosses were updated on the transition.

This included the transfer of 25 residents – including two who were in hospital at the time – to other residential homes and care facilities in Sunderland.

As part of the closure, the meeting heard all staff were offered and accepted care jobs elsewhere in the city.

Chairman of the CCG governing body, Dr Ian Pattison, praised the process at the Bede Tower meeting.

“I think it’s always a challenge with the short notice you get but I think it’s some assurance to this board that we have systems in place as a partnership to make sure these things happen swiftly and appropriately for patients,” he said.

After being labelled ‘inadequate’, the CQC issued a warning notice, ordering bosses at Rowlandson House to prevent admissions until improvements were made.

Loyal Care Centre Limited, which ran the home, also submitted an action plan to the CQC and council at the time outlining its plans to improve.

Cabinet member for health and social care on the council, Coun Dr Geoffrey Walker, said several checks were put in place during the transition.

“As soon as the owners of Rowlandson House made their decision to close the residential home, council staff became involved to guide them during this process,” he said.     

“A team of social workers worked with staff from the home, service users and their families and other care homes to find appropriate, alternative accommodation to meet their individual needs.

“All of the residents had found new homes and moved out by January 17 and the home closed that day.  

“Care plans and other relevant information was shared with the new homes to ensure people would get consistent care.

“The team also liaised with our care home nurses in the community to ensure that people were followed up appropriately when they moved into their new homes.”

The most recent inspection follows a visit by the CQC in June 2018 which put the home in the ‘requires improvement’ category.

Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service