A Huddersfield care home has received a critical report from the Care Quality Commission.
Beechwood in Edgerton, which is run by Leonard Cheshire Disability, was found to be understaffed and overly reliant on volunteers. Some residents were uncomfortable with male carers, there was little chance to enjoy outside trips and staff did not put training into practice.
One resident compared the home, on Bryan Road, to a boarding school with a headmaster. And when inspectors inquired further they reported “an odd culture” in the home with some residents ill at ease and reluctant to discuss their experiences.
Among the comments passed to the CQC, whose inspectors made two unannounced visits in February this year and has given a rating of “requires improvement”, was one from a resident who feared becoming institutionalised.
One person said: “I feel as if I have to fight against becoming institutionalised. It is nice when new staff come for a short time, and then they learn the ways of the old staff very quickly.”
Another person told inspectors: “I don’t think this place is well led. There is a lot of room for improvement, and it is never the staff’s fault, it is always the residents’ fault.”
More worryingly one person is reported to have said: “I really want to stress that this is a good home and I don’t dislike any of the staff - as long as I do as I am told,” before adding, “I’m only joking.”
Based on their observations inspectors did not feel the comments were made in jest.
Chronic understaffing meant the home was boosted by volunteer support, with 900 volunteer hours logged in December 2016. However there was not sufficient support to provide drivers for the home’s minibuses, meaning residents were not able to enjoy trips.
Staff were also criticised for failing to interact with residents. On some days poor staffing meant people had to wait for meals and food went cold. Of Beechwood itself, a Victorian house with large gardens, inspectors said areas of the home “looked tired” and were in need of upgrading.
A spokesperson for Leonard Cheshire Disability said: “We always take the CQC feedback very seriously and will continue to assist our team to ensure we give the best possible care to the people living at Beechwood. A comprehensive action and improvement plan is in place. Leonard Cheshire considers the safety and well-being of the people we support our absolute priority.”