NHS trust’s care homes under fire

Care home residents with learning difficulties are having their
human rights infringed because their movements are

Residents are being denied access to their bedrooms during the day
and not being allowed to come and go as they wish, states the
Commission for Health Improvement

The investigation into Bedfordshire and Luton Community NHS Trust’s
services for people with learning difficulties found that in one
home bedroom doors were kept locked during the day and residents
were not allowed into their rooms until bedtime.

In another home, windows and doors were kept chained to contain one
client with challenging behaviour, preventing other residents from
moving around.

Dr Michael O’Rourke, clinical director of the trust’s learning
disability services, said the residents’ bedrooms were locked to
protect people’s property from others and that residents could
access their own rooms by asking a member of staff.

The CHI investigation made 17 recommendations to the trust,
including an urgent need for a human resources strategy and the
need to train care staff in the principles of the government’s
Valuing People learning difficulties strategy. O’Rourke said 13 of
these had been completed or were being worked on.

David Congdon, head of external relations at learning difficulty
charity Mencap, said the report indicated a “benign neglect, with
not enough focus on the quality of life and the needs of the users
of the homes”.

– Investigation into Learning Disability Services provided by
the Bedfordshire and Luton Community NHS Trust
from www.chi.nhs.uk

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