Whistle blown on care home because staff were ‘scared’ of patients

Seaham View care home, North Road, Seaham.
Seaham View care home, North Road, Seaham.
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THE whistle was blown on a Seaham care home because staff were “scared” of patients in the unit, a report claims.

An unannounced inspection of Seaham View, which provides accommodation for up to 12 young adults with learning disabilities and autism, found none of the staff were experienced in caring for people with such complex needs.

None of the staff we spoke with had worked in care before and had limited understanding of how to support people who have a range of complex.

Report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) was contacted about the North Road home by a concerned member of the public, who said staff were afraid of the users of the service, and a report about the inspection last September was released last week.

It said at the time the home, which is run by Swanton Care and Community Ltd, was inadequate in all areas, including safety, caring, effectiveness and how it was being led.

The report said: “Staff working in the service described the service as “dangerous, unsafe and neglectful” as they were not properly trained to manage the people’s complex needs.

“On the days of our inspections we saw people were not well cared for and serious concerns regarding the safety of people using the service were identified.

“We saw examples in the records and were told by staff working in the home, that people were frequently assaulted by the people they lived with.

“We also found the arrangements where people were restrained and secluded were inadequate. This placed people at risk of abuse.”

The inspectors went on to say that staff at the centre had not been appropriately recruited.

They said: “None of the staff we spoke with had worked in care before and had limited understanding of how to support people who have a range of complex needs such as no speech, harmful behaviours and property destruction.”

Inspectors said the staff lacked the skills needed to meet the demands of the vulnerable group of people, including how to engage them in activities and having limited knowledge of medications and side effects.

However, the CQC confirmed a further inspection has since been carried out and shows significant improvements at the home, and a further report is due to be published in the coming weeks.

A spokesman for Swanton Care and Community Ltd, which runs units across the country, including several in Sunderland and County Durham, said: “This report is the result of inspections carried out nearly six months ago. Seaham View is a very different service today.

“Nothing is more important to us than the wellbeing of the individuals we support. Immediately following the inspections, and working closely with our local partners Tees, Esk and Wear Valley MHT, families, the CQC, and local commissioners, we allocated additional support, appointed a new manager, changed the staffing structure, provided additional training, clarified internal protocols and continued to improve the environment for our service users.

“The whole staff team worked tirelessly to address the CQC’s concerns and we are very pleased that, on a recent inspection, these efforts have been recognised by the CQC. They have confirmed that the service has made very positive and significant progress.

“We are confident that we are providing a high level of care and support. We look forward to seeing the positive progress made reflected in the next CQC report due out any day now.”