Shocking inspection uncovers hidden abuse at care home

Heathers care home in Pollard Street, near Bacton in north Norfolk. Picture: Google StreetView

Heathers care home in Pollard Street, near Bacton in north Norfolk. Picture: Google StreetView - Credit: Archant

A care home where staff members abused residents has been put into special measures.

Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission gave Heathers care home in Bacton its lowest-possible rating of inadequate in all areas after an inspection in March.

At the time, Heathers was home to eight people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions.

Inspectors said residents were being abused, the incidents were not followed by safeguarding steps and went unreported.

The CQC’s report said: “We found evidence of more than one incident where people had been subjected to abuse by staff. We found incidents of abuse that other staff were aware of but did not report. Some staff told us if they did raise concerns no action was taken.”

The report said all residents had been put at risk in an “serious safety incident” the week before the inspection, caused by the behaviour of one of the residents.

A CQC spokesman said they could not say more due to “legal reasons”.

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Risks and safety procedures were not reviewed afterwards, and the report went on: “There was a repeated safety incident five days after the first incident and there was still no review of risk assessments or safety procedures.”

Inspectors also found a lack of staff and an over-reliance on agency staff, which was causing residents stress.

One staff member told inspectors: “It runs you down being short staffed,” and said they felt they were “flitting between people”.

Inspectors found there was a “closed culture” at the care home, which did not encourage staff to raise concerns when they witnessed poor practice or abuse.

Heathers is run by Dereham-based Jeesal Residential Care Services.

Samantha Wiseman, Jeesal’s director of community services, said: “We are naturally very disappointed at the outcome of the latest CQC inspection at Heathers and to receive an inadequate rating.

“We manage many good homes and give good quality care to our service users. We have studied the CQC findings carefully and we are making all of the necessary changes to get our service where it deserves to be as soon as possible.”

Jeesal runs 11 other care homes around Norfolk. They all currently have ‘good’ CQC ratings, and Heathers was rated good after its previous inspection in May last year.

The CQC will reinspect the home within six months.