Jul 29 2011 by Lisa Boyle, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
South Ayrshire Care Home Complaints
A HEFTY catalogue of complaints into South Ayrshire nursing homes lies in the files of care watchdogs.
Vulnerable residents and their worried families have had cause to criticise the state of care 114 times in just five years.
Startling new figures reveal a concerning insight into how certain facilities are run and have sparked outrage from the elderly forum.
In contrast, the information revealed through the Freedom of Information Act also shows which care homes in the community are consistently getting things right.
Each complaint made to Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) is looked in to.
And of the 114 complaints made, investigators held up 99 in full or in part.
Fairknowe House in Maybole had 13 complaints upheld against it – more than any other home.
That includes SEVEN complaints within a year (2009-10).
Nutrition, hydration, care of property, staffing levels, food quality, medication issues and general welfare were just some of the issues found lacking during that year alone.
Claremont Nursing Home closely followed with 12 complaints upheld in full or in part over the same five year period.
Although no complaints were made against the Ayr home in the last year, issues previously included potential abuse, continence care, inadequate healthcare, staff training and missing property.
Glennie House in Auchinleck was next on the list with 10 complaints upheld in full or in part.
Staffing levels, dignity and privacy, security, choice of care and treatment, communication, inadequate healthcare and fitness of the premises were all found to be lacking.
Alex Baird, chairman of South Ayrshire Elderly Forum, was horrified at hearing the information.
He told the Post: “That amount is staggering. There are always complaints about care homes but I’m very surprised to find that so many have been held up.
“To me it’s because these big private companies who run the care homes are all about making money.
“They bring in cheap staff and barely train them. You can’t look after elderly and disabled people properly unless you’ve had a lot of training. It is a difficult job.
“A lot of companies are only interested in the bottom line of their accounts and keeping it black, if it’s red they’ll cut costs or sell it off.”
But Mr Baird heaped praise on the homes that are keeping everyone happy.
He continued: “It’s important to make the point that there are a lot of caring, hardworking people in these homes.
“But unfortunately it only takes one or two people who are fed up to sour the whole situation.
“In some homes you have kids straight out of school charged with the care of elderly. Care home staff tend to be paid terribly, that all has an effect on the quality of care given.
“Not all care homes are bad, I have a friend in Temple House in Mossblown and it’s excellent. I couldn’t speak higher of the home or the staff.” Kenny Valentine, regional director for Bupa Scotland, who run Claremont, said: “Claremont is a very good home with an excellent team of caring staff – it is very highly regarded by its residents and their families. The last inspection saw the regulator grade the home as good, with a number of areas graded as very good. The entire team should be praised for the high standard of care it provides.”