Staff members of a Northampton care home shut down following a shocking watchdog report feel they have become scapegoats for their management’s failings.
Last week the Chronicle and Echo revealed Kingsley Nursing Home was to close following a scathing report by the Care Quality Commision (CQC).
The watchdog found some residents were not being properly fed, given the correct medication or in one case, even clothed in their own garments.
But as the 25 elderly residents are gradually being moved out of there over the next fortnight, a skeleton crew of staff remain.
The Chron has spoken to five of those staff who feel their own reputations have been tarred by the actions of their management. All of them wished to remain anonymous.
One member of staff told the Chron: “That report is not fair on us. Some of us have worked here for a long time and people now think we are scum.”
Other workers there disputed that elderly people went hungry, instead claiming residents appeared malnourished because weights were logged incorrectly by management on nutrition charts.
“There is always plenty of fresh food, it’s always freshly cooked, there is lots of juice available,” said another staff member.
“If there were people deteriorating, they weren’t eating and they weren’t drinking. If someone is deteriorating you can’t force feed them.
“Most of the people were eating well and drinking well.”
“We were following bad orders,” said another. “Some of the policies and procedures weren’t correct.”
The CQC report paid particular attention to the way the care home was led and noted that registered manager, Janet Sillett, has been suspended pending a hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
The watchdog said: “Although care staff appeared friendly, staff lacked direction and appropriate guidance from management to ensure that all people living at the home received the care and support they required at the times they required it.
“For example, there was no structured approach to mealtimes to ensure that everybody had their meal, and that it was appropriate for their needs.”
The CQC report also stated that management were tough to approach, which meant failures were never properly addressed.
“Relatives told us they did not feel able to complain,” the inspectors said. “One relative had reported to us that they felt bullied and intimidated by the registered manager.
“It is of concern that people did not feel able to approach the manager with their complaints.”
The CQC also reported that the registered manager “kept all of the oversight of people’s care to themselves,” which effectively meant staff were unaware of particular residents’ needs.
Attempts have been made to contact Mrs Sillett for a response through the nursing home.