Security at nursing homes

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Tony Heare, Oct 16, 2004.

  1. Tony Heare

    Tony Heare Registered User

    Sep 13, 2004
    Newport, South Wales
    Hi everyone. I had an 'annual' review on Thursday with the boss of my mother's nursing home and someone from the local authority's care maintenance team. I say 'annual', because it was 18 months ago that we had the last one, even though I had requested one more recently - apparently, staff shortages were to blame. Anyway, during this meeting, it transpired that on some 4 separate occasions my mother had somehow managed to get out from the home and walk a (for her) considerable distance without being missed. Now my mother is a creature of habit in the home and spends most of the day walking back and for the whole length of the home endlessly. She thinks she's going shopping, love her and everyone knows roughly where she is, so imagine my anger when this came to light.
    A similar incident happened last year, under a different manager, when she was missing for FIVE hours and only when the Police returned her did anyone start to be concerned. Subsequently, after my late father made a formal complaint, the manager was sent packing and rightly so. But this current situation is as a result of a fault on the main door to the home and even though the necessary new parts are on order (from Sweden of all places!), I would have thought that it would be a priority to get this damn door fixed. Apparently not. I remain very concerned that one day I will receive a phone call (THAT phone call that we all dread) and if I do, I told them in the meeting that I will sue the home and the local authority for every penny they have. My mother loves it there and I am loath to move her at this stage.
  2. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Tony,

    They can't be serious???? Don't we have door locks in England? A temporary chain lock would suffice at the very least until the Swedish replacement arrives. I wonder how many other residents have gone walkabout ...... Time to phone your MP and Local Authority without delay and start shouting.

    Best wishes,

  3. storm

    storm Registered User

    Aug 10, 2004
    Hi all, I am sorry to say this comes has no surprise to me,only this summer i was shopping in my local town when i came across a small elderly and very confused lady who was wearing her skirt inside out,it turned out she was from a local home and when i returned her the response i got was she is always doing this!i was dumbfounded but found my voice long enough to tell them what i thought of them and thier so called care home! no wonder we struggle with the thought of putting the people we care for in these homes for respite. storm
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Jan's care home has a front door with four different handles on. Three of them work, but need to be turned at the same time, and in different directions. All done to make things difficult as possible for the residents if they try and leave.

    The people who are resident at the home, and the respite people who stay there for days and weeks, may not be able to remember most things, but how to escape from where they don't want to be isn't one of them!

    This week I arrived to find a message asking visitors to use the side entrance [three locking devices, on either side of the gate, plus the necessity to enter/exit through the manager's office], and with a huge plant stacked against the door. A lady newly in on respite was a born escaper.

    Now of course it should not happen that residents, permanent or temporary, can get out undetected. All efforts need to be taken to ensure it cannot happen.


    Jan's home is an excellent one, probably as good as they come, and even there residents do, from time to time, get out.

    Most of the time the staff spot their attempts and gently steer them back from the door. There will always be vulnerable times however. Some residents react badly to medication and get violent. Or one of the residents goes around turning all the water taps on and there is a flood. Meals are served. The staff concentrate on sorting the situation out, attention lapses, person makes their break at that time. There are comings and goings all the time - relatives visiting, staf coming and going, doctor coming/going, medications coming/going, etc. The door is a vulnerable place but must not only be secure, but must also conform to fire regulations.

    I've been visiting Jan for over three years now, on a daily basis. Without the home employing a doorman, who is permanently at the door - and they don't have enough care staff - there is no way the place will ever be 100% safe.

    They do keep on trying, and we visitors always point out vulnerabilities to try and forestall things.

    Escapes shouldn't happen at all, of course. Different homes may not be as good, of course.

    And naturally, we all need to impress on the homes that their standards always need to be improved.
  5. Geraldine

    Geraldine Registered User

    Oct 17, 2003
    Hi again

    Like Brucie I think I am lucky in that there are 2 locked doors that need to be got through the 'escape' from Mum's home one with a combination lock the other with a hidden button that is a few feet away from the door so someone else needs to press it. In the summer one of the more agile and quick residents did manage to climb over a fence aound the back of teh home and inot a part of the garden that leads into the car park and onto the main road. Within a week there was another 6 foot fence blocking off the car park as well. I think you should go immediatley to the care home standards people. Why on earth can they just not fit a high manual lock or bolt to the top of the door?

    yours inexasperation

  6. susan

    susan Registered User

    Aug 18, 2003
    east sussex
    Dear Tony
    My dad used to be an escapee, but when he moved to the nursing home we had no qualms as the main door had two handles, both working in opposite directions as well as 1 being so high up, Dad being a shorty had no chance of reaching it. It also had a strong self closer so no-one could leave it open.

    Please report this home to the local inspection team - are they due one, if not you can contact the main inspectorate team through social services.

    Please kick on this - those that shout sadly get heard!!

    Take care Sue
  7. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    When Dad went to the local cottage hospital specialist ward for respite they had the 2 handled thingy - didn't take him long to crack that one! We met him coming the other way on at least 3 occasions, usually with staff in hot pursuit!

    It seems the electronic variety of a numbered keypad at Aunt's home is pretty effective. Coupled with the lovely "walled " and gated gardens it seems succesful. There are always at least 2 residents with their going out clothes on walking the corridors and they don't appear to have made it out to my knowledge.

    I guess its a combination of the layout of the building and the staff that achieves the result. Not all places will be as fortunate in either or both areas.

  8. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Dear Tony

    I read your post and am appalled at such a lamentable attitude to security - although paramount, it's not just about keeping residents safely indoors, it's also about keeping unwanted people out. I know to you I am stating the obvious, but it seems to have escaped those in charge at the home.

    It is tough enough having made the decision to place our at-risk, loved ones in safe keeping, there is some small comfort in that, but how can we possibly take some respite having done that if suddenly we can't trust those to whom we have handed over that responsibility?

    Unfortunately, you are between a rock and a hard place because your Mum is settled there, which is the greatest part of the battle. Have you made any subtle references about the local press being interested, in addition to any promised litigation. Like you don't have enough to worry about.

    Is it really beyond the wit of anybody to secure the top and bottom of the door with locks as a temporary measure? Or do they have to have a committee meeting to decide on 'the way forward': (Right, Mr Chairman, it has been noted in the minutes that Mackenzie here, will provide eight x two inch screws a week Tuesday next - Mr Chairman, perhaps your secretary could translate that into those centimilli jobbies so's not to offend those of a European bent. Now, does anybody propose supply of a screw driver? Seconded?) Like something from a Keith Waterhouse script! My gob is well and truly smacked!

    Good luck and do let us know how things go.

  9. Chesca

    Chesca Guest

    Of course, Tony, you won't realise this, but tonight locks are a subject very close to my heart. I'm a fine one to talk.

    In a joint attack of amnesia we both managed to leave the house without one key between us, for front door or car, earlier on. I cannot begin to tell you of the ensuing mayhem...............but there's a mighty big hole where the Yale used to be! But.............I do have to say it will be secured a damned site quicker than the nursing home.

  10. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Chesca,

    Just practising were you?

    My aunt and uncle are/were in a lovely Home in Shoreham. My aunt moved in first before my uncle joined her. Uncle had memorised the keypad number for the entry doors from earlier visits with my cousin - and Houdini had nothing on him the first day that he moved in. It took the staff approximately 5 minutes to react and alter the code after nabbing Uncle at the front gate.

    If this Nursing Home is on the ball, then there is no excuse for others not to be equally as vigilant.

  11. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Hi all, keypads are definately the easiest answer in my book both as someone who has worked in several homes with them, those without and the ensuing panic,and as a relative of a Houdini. Mum escaped several times, but it was when she blagged her way out by assuring a visitor that she too was a visitor! Oh she was a little monkey! At home, we had to keep the keys in our pockets at night. Love She. XX
  12. nikita

    nikita Registered User

    Jul 31, 2004

    where my gran is theey keep the doors locked and alarmed all staff have a key not sure this is fire regulated or not can anyone let me know?
  13. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Nikita,

    I'm sure it would be for both reasons. A very good practice.


Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.