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NOT SAFE: Lack of privacy and hygiene concerns at care home

NOT SAFE: Lack of privacy and hygiene concerns at care home

Image: LDRS

A lack of hygiene and a lack of care to furnishing were found at a care home in Sandwell which was previously rated as “good”.

Selbourne Mews, located in Smethwick, and operated by Selborne Care Ltd, received an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in May after receiving concern about people’s safety.

Inspectors said the service was not safe, was not always caring and was not well led.

But the care home this week said staff and management had been working hard to address the concerns, and that the ‘welfare and care of people who use our services continues to be our top priority’.

Selborne Mews accommodates up to 20 people with learning disabilities. Some people living at the service were also diagnosed with mental health conditions and had complex support needs.

At the time of inspection 13 people were living at the care home.

The care home has 16 one and two bedroom apartments for a maximum of 20 persons with a courtyard communal garden. On its website, Selbourne Mews describes the apartments as providing “a real sense of home” and help “promote wellbeing and security” to its residents.

Carried out by two inspectors and an assistant inspector, the overall care rating graded to Selbourne Mews was “inadequate” and therefore in “special measures”.

In particular, the duty of care at Selbourne Mews was listed as “requiring improvement”. At its last rated inspection, dated January 2020, it was listed as “good”.

During the inspection, officials noted an individual who had a risk of eating non-food items due to a health condition. They noted a broken lock on a cupboard where items were stored despite a risk assessment in place stating items “should be locked away when not in use”.

The officials also noted  a “ripped back” of a chair with exposed foam and a container with hand gel left unsecured. No action had been taken to secure or remove these items either which could be ingested.

There had also been an incident where a user set alight bedding in their bedroom with their own lighter, despite care records stating the user’s lighter, for smoking, “should be held by staff”.

Hygiene was also a concern for inspectors. Across three flats, the report states “thick dust and dirt” was discovered behind the sofa in the lounge area, along with”food debris and staining”. A shower was described as “heavily soiled” with staining on the bath mat.

A bedroom chair had food and dirt and was “heavily worn”. Officials noted it made cleaning “difficult”. A floor bean bag and a carpet were also described as “soiled”, with pillows in use on the bed as “stained and worn”.

Inspectors recorded another flat with holes in the wall, which had been “filled with tissue paper” and the walls were “dirty”.

The report also noted a lack of privacy for residents at Selbourne Mews, including some staff members “not [knocking the user’s] flat door or announce their arrival”.

CQC noted staff worked well as a team, but some staff members were concerned. One staff member told the inspectors: “There is a different atmosphere in the home depending on which team are working.”

As a result of their findings, CQC issued a warning notice and a notice of proposal to refuse (NOP).

A spokesperson for Selbourne Mews said: “Selborne Care acknowledges the findings of a recently published CQC report following an inspection of Selborne Mews, which provides accommodation for persons with learning disabilities or mental health conditions requiring nursing or personal care.

“Since the inspection in May 2021, staff and management have been working with pace to address the areas of concern identified during the inspection by CQC.

“The immediate concerns raised relating to infection control and environmental improvements were addressed immediately. A detailed review of the care and support provided to people who use the service an in-depth review of management oversight, risk-assessment and reporting of incidents has taken place and progress continues.

“The welfare and care of people who use our services continues to be our top priority and we take these responsibilities seriously.

“We acknowledge that further work must continue to ensure this service returns to our usual standards of operating delivery. Selborne Care is committed to working with the CQC, local authority and other partners to complete these remaining improvements as soon as possible.


Words: Rhi Storer, Local Democracy Reporter

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