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Lack of staff in care home

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Leswi, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. Leswi

    Leswi Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    120
    Bedfordshire
    Mum has been in care for a couple of weeks and is actually surprisingly settled. However I am concerned that there is often periods of time with no staff in the communal lounge where mum spends her day. there are usually 6 residents in this room and another 7 who are permanently in their rooms bed bound. two carers and cook at weekends plus manager on weekdays but she spends lots of time in office. When the room based residents need care there is nobody in the communal area. There is one resident who throws her hot drinks and overturns her table which could be dangerous. I am going to express my safety concerns tomorrow but wonder if this is normal practice and staffing level? Is it considered safe practice to leave a room unattended like this?
     
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    No absolutely not!! It is a very real safeguarding issue and you are quite right to raise it. I'm surprised they haven't had some serious accidents. The only thing that might make it alright is if there are call buttons either on the residents or in the room and accessible to residents - but and it is a big BUT -only if the residents are able to use them and many people with dementia cannot use this system even if the bells are accessible. It also means that the residents are completely unstimulated if there is no one there engaging with them even in simple conversation. I think you are right to be worried. Do let us know how you get on tomorrow, will be thinking of you, good luck xx
     
  3. CeliaW

    CeliaW Registered User

    Jan 29, 2009
    5,655
    Hampshire
    Leswi, I understand your concerns and yes you do need to raise it. But so they don't try to bamboozle or bluff, it might be an idea to start the conversation asking what their carer / resident ratio is. Then if the levels you have seen don't match that, you can ask what is their procedure for dealing with x / being aware of y/ preventing z. You are more likely to get some reasonably accurate figures (although they may not be appropriate ) and have a firmer basis to raise the issues. Whatever the initial outcome, I would also suggest you follow it up with an email reiterating what you discussed and what they stated. Depending on the content you may want to cc it to Social Services. Good luck.
     
  4. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    Great idea - put every concern in writing :)
     
  5. Leswi

    Leswi Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    120
    Bedfordshire
    All the communal lounge residents have varying degrees of dementia and would not know how to use an alarm if there was one but I have only seen these in bedrooms and toilets anyway. I am going to mention my concerns to social worker as well as home manager and will update here on the response.
     
  6. angecmc

    angecmc Registered User

    Dec 25, 2012
    2,109
    hertfordshire
    Would be really interested to hear what you find out, I have been battling with my Mums care home for a few months now regarding lack of staff, they have mainly three staff on duty, one of those administers medication and is not to be disturbed, I have witnessed her ignoring pleas for help with toileting and other issues in the lounge, the person doing meds has refused to take my Mum to the toilet on many occasions, I do take her myself when this happens, but it's not something I find easy as I suffer osteoarthritis and struggle to manoeuvre her, her mobility is very poor. I have spoken to care home Manager about this issue, written to their head office who just forwarded the letter to the Manager at the home, I got so fed up of constantly looking for a member of staff to help the residents who keep asking me to help them that I ended up contacting the cqc, who have recently done an inspection and concluded that all areas in the home require improvement, they said they are also concerned about the level of staff but so far nothing seems to be changing. I have been told there is no hard and fast rule about staff to resident ratio in care homes. I am glad I contacted the cqc though as they found problems throughout the home including wrong medication being given to wrong resident at times! Hope you get somewhere with this, we are all our relatives have to fight for their rights, good luck xx

    Ange
     
  7. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    hi angie It is a good idea to also report this to Social Services - phone the adult care duty desk and tell them it is a safeguarding issue and that the care home are not meeting the needs of your vulnerable mother - tell them even her basic toileting needs are not being met and also if you feel it is the case tell them that if someone fell or had a big problem there would not be enough staff to help. Are they getting residents up in the morning and what happens at meal times?
     
  8. angecmc

    angecmc Registered User

    Dec 25, 2012
    2,109
    hertfordshire
    Hi Fizzie, thanks for your advice, I am reluctant to contact social services as my Mums social worker is related to the care home Manager, but just might have to, will let them know about the conflict of interest, I guess that might help. The two other staff rostered on are always struggling to get people up, I have seen people struggling to eat and of course nobody available to help them. All this was reported to cqc. I thought they were higher up than social services.x

    Ange
     
  9. Leswi

    Leswi Registered User

    Jul 13, 2014
    120
    Bedfordshire
    update

    I put all my concerns in an email to Social Worker copied to home manager. Social worker is visiting this week and has passed my concerns to the compliance team. I then met with the manager this afternoon. The lady who throw things was in her room and I was informed she will be removed from lounge area any time she starts to be disruptive. Manager was very keen to address my other concerns and apologetic. She is hoping to have an extra staff member during daytime and feels my email and Social worker involvement may speed this up. I left feeling hopeful that things will improve but only time will tell. It certainly did pay to put things in writing.
     
  10. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    The CQC have a different kind of power - they are useful for longer term input and as the regulators they certainly do have power but they often move more slowly and won't necessarily investigate straight away (I've even known them been slow when there is a serious issue but they are not set up for immediate response). The info you gave will trigger an Inspection to be planned and will definitely be fed in to the information the Inspector has. Social Services have a duty to respond more rapidly if there is a safeguarding issue they have to respond immediately. Ouch if there is a relationship between the social worker and the manager that is really really unfortunate and puts you in a very awkward position. If you reported conflict of interest you would be allocated another social worker. The big problem is that there is no defined ratio of staff to residents because of the fluctuating care needs. This means that all authorities have to rely on people reporting specific incidents ie I watched 3 people struggling with their food at lunchtime on 27 November, this often happens. Or they wait for someone to fall or have an accident!!!

    The CQC will definitely pick it up and you absolutely did the right thing but it depends when their last visit was. Ideally it is good to report any incident you are worried about on the principle 'the more the merrier' and 'he who shouts loudest'!!! Sorry I have really waffled on. !!!
     
  11. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    just one other thought - you could report to social services and say that you want this to be dealt with without you being identified as you are concerned about the relationship - I'm not sure that they have to honour that though so you would need to check at the beginning of the conversation
     
  12. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    Well done you - you really achieved a lot very quickly, brilliant, you have helped a lot of residents in that home x
     
  13. angecmc

    angecmc Registered User

    Dec 25, 2012
    2,109
    hertfordshire
    Hi Fizzie, thanks for the information, my sister has the phone number of a social worker who was dealing with her mil, she told my sister to call her if we needed any help with Mum, so think I will get her to contact this lady, it really worries me that I cannot be there all day and night for Mum and who knows what is going on when I am not there to help her. You have not waffled, you have been really helpful x

    Ange
     
  14. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,739
    Ange don't feel bad, you've done the best for your mum by helping her to be in a place where she is going to be as comfortable as possible. There are often things that need sorting out and you are doing that, if you need to move her care home if nothing changes and you continue to worry then you can do that too. Nothing is set in stone. Just keep an eye on things and rest assured that you are doing the best that you can xxx
     

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