Washington care home may have ‘breached residents’ human rights’ by not allowing them out

Washington Lodge Care Home, The Avenue, Washington Village.
Washington Lodge Care Home, The Avenue, Washington Village.
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Bosses at a Wearside care home are under fire after inspectors found its elderly residents were “not free to leave” the site.

Residents at Washington Lodge Nursing Home “may have had their human rights” infringed upon after staff refused to give them door codes to leave the premises, according to a new report which has ordered the facility to improve its standards.

“We saw that a number of bathrooms did not have pedal operated bins to prevent the spread of infection and although a number of the pull cords for lights had plastic coating, we saw they were only partially covered so not all areas of the cord were able to wipe clean.”

Care Quality Commission report

The home, in the town’s Village Centre, was visited by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over two days in July, and now “requires improvement” in five areas in respect of its safety, effectiveness, care, responsiveness and leadership.

A report published by the body shows that the provider had “breached a number of regulations”, with capacity assessments not always carried out and the obtaining of consent to care and treatment not always reflecting current legislation.

Certain bedrooms looked at during the inspection were found to be untidy with debris on the carpets.

Bosses at the home have said today that a “comprehensive action plan” has been put in place since they were sent the report.

Inspectors found that certain residents of the home were not given the door code to the home and were not free to leave.

The registered manager said that 27 residents did not have mental capacity, but inspectors were not shown evidence that capacity assessments had been undertaken.

The report says that by not giving people the door code it “could amount to a restriction under deprivation of liberty safeguards”.

“We asked what would happen if people who had not been assessed as lacking capacity asked for the door code,” the report said.

“One member of staff told us, ‘I think I wouldn’t give the door code as it is not safe or in their best interests’.

“Another said, ‘We’d try to stop (people). We’re compelled to.

“When you have a longer- term therapeutic relationship with people you get to recognise people and can make decisions in their best interest’.”

The report added: “This may be a breach of people’s human rights as without relevant best-interest decisions and capacity assessments preventing people from leaving, may form a restriction to people’s liberty.”

In regards to safety, the report states: “We saw that a number of bathrooms did not have pedal-operated bins to prevent the spread of infection, and although a number of the pull cords for lights had plastic coating, we saw they were only partially covered, so not all areas of the cord were able to wipe clean.”

Despite the issues, all staff were found to be “polite” in their interaction with residents.

The home’s chef was also spoken to and found to be “knowledgeable about people’s nutritional and support needs”.

The home cares for older people, some of who have dementia, as well as those with mental health conditions.

It is registered to care for 65 people, but was looking after 30 at the time of the inspection.

A spokesman for Washington Lodge said: “Nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and wellbeing of those we support.

“We were pleased the Care Quality Commission report contained positive feedback from residents and relatives who use our services.

“The report also contained clear guidance on areas where we could make improvements.

“In response, we immediately implemented a comprehensive action plan.

“We continue to work closely with all appropriate authorities to update them on our progress, and look forward to demonstrating the improvements we have made at our next inspection.”

• Have you or any of your relatives been affected by the running of the home? Call our newsdesk on 501 7326.