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Home shut over "poor" standards

Two elderly people have died and several are in hospital after the nursing home they were previously staying in was shut following concerns over standards of care.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) obtained an urgent court order to cancel the registration of Southfield Care Homes, in Brackley, Northants, after a random check found residents were "at serious risk" because of poor care standards.

Eight residents were taken into hospital after the visit, with a number needing immediate medical attention, said a charity. And council officials confirmed that two terminally ill residents have since died.

No suggestion has been made that the hospital admissions or deaths were linked to either the standard of care at the privately-owned home or its closure.

However, police are now assessing the case along with local health and social care bodies and the CSCI.

In a statement, a Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: "As part of the routine procedures for safeguarding vulnerable adults, used when there is a concern about the quality of care, Northamptonshire Police, together with Commission for Social Care Inspection and other agencies, are examining in more detail the information that is available about the quality of care that was provided."

Age Concern, which was represented this week at a meeting about the closure, claimed Southfield failed to meet key standards of care over a six-year period, but inspectors had little power to enforce recommendations other than by shutting the home down.

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Was it the right the decision to shut down the home? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Closing a home that is providing a poor standard of care is always the right decision. However, care homes are underfunded and find it hard to attract the right staff. I am lucky to manage a home that has a good care team, with people who want to make a difference in elderly care. We still have our problems at times, but I hope my clients are happy staying with
us!" - Dawn Whitt

"The staff in care homes are the most poorly paid in the UK. You get what you pay for and any organisation is only as good as its weakest member of staff. When I did agency in a care home 15 years ago, staff there had day jobs and slept for at least three hours each night shift. I alerted the manager and the staff concerned were sacked. They asked me to manage the home, but I could not attract the calibre of staff required to do the job  ffectievly. Having said that, the vast majority of care home staff do a fantastic job for very little reward or recognition. It's hard to care for the elderly 24/7 and we should recognise that and reward staff accordingly." - Pam Fry, Berkshire

"If the home is understaffed and care was very poor, homes are usually closed to admissions and closely monitored until standards are improved. Inspections are unanounced at care homes at least once a year and more often if there is cause for concern, so it seems the Commission failed to monitor the situation appropriately." - P Phillips, Chester

"Yes although very sad for the residents. But it seems only fair to mention that it is not solely care homes where poor standard of care is delivered, they just seem to get more publicity. Perhaps it would be a good idea if the inspections of such facilities were carried out without the owner's prior knowledge. Also include hospitals to keep them on there toes!!" - C Park, London

"Yes! And a lot more should be shut down. What goes on in those places is disgraceful. After all they are dealing with fellow human beings, or do we not see that if diagnoss of dementia has been made." - Joan, West Sussex