Council to pull 52 residents out of Bupa care home over safety concerns

Residents' health, safety and welfare at risk at Oakhurst Grange Nursing Home despite safeguarding action and CQC warnings, says West Sussex council.

Picture credit: Monkey Business Images/Rex Features
Picture credit: Monkey Business Images/Rex Features

West Sussex council is to pull 52 residents out of a Bupa care home because their “health, safety and welfare are at risk”, it announced today.

The move follows a series of damning inspections of Oakhurst Grange Nursing Home in Crawley by the Care Quality Commission and ongoing safeguarding action from the council and NHS partners. Concerns include unexplained bruising to residents, use of restraint, the level of respect accorded to residents and medication records.

Though council and NHS staff have been working with Bupa over the past few weeks to raise standards at the home, West Sussex council said improvements had not been sufficient and were unlikely to be sustained.

‘Standards still poor’

“We have worked in partnership with the home’s management team for many weeks to help the service to improve so we are disappointed that standards are still so poor that residents’ health, safety and welfare are at risk,” said director of adults’ services Amanda Rogers.

The authority has started reviewing the needs of the 52 residents funded by the council or NHS continuing healthcare, prior to moving them to new accommodation; self-funders will be offered advice and information on their options. But the council warned that available care home accommodation in this part of the county was “at a premium” and people could not be guaranteed their first choice of home.

Rogers (pictured) added: “The decision has been a difficult one for us to make as we are aware that moving frail and elderly residents to alternative accommodation causes them stress…We only do this when necessary, and in this case, it is necessary.”

The CQC has inspected the home six times in the past year. In November last year, it issued the home with a warning notice after finding it in breach of standards on care and welfare and safeguarding, with concerns including excessive use of restraint and evidence of unexplained bruising to one resident that had not been reported to the safeguarding team. Though the next inspection, in December, found the home was meeting these standards, the CQC found things had deteriorated at its subsequent visit in February. Then it found the home in breach of standards on record keeping and respecting and involving service users. For example:

  • A resident was given medication designed to be used as and when required without any record being made as to why the medication had been used;
  • A manager from one of the home’s four bungalows was heard asking staff, ‘is she going to bed now?’, in respect of a resident, without acknowledging or speaking to the person concerned;
  • A staff member was observed sitting between two people and assisting both to eat, and then turning to help someone on a third table;
  • One staff member was observed leaning over a resident to change the CD without acknowledging them or asking them about their music preference;
  • Information on food choices was not available in accessible formats for people with dementia.
  • One resident received tea with sugar despite their care plan recording that they liked tea with no sugar.

‘Unexplained bruises’

The CQC also reported that it had been informed of a number of people who had sustained “unexplained bruises and injuries”, which it said had prompted safeguarding action from the local authority. The CQC’s latest inspection report on the home is due for publication within the next two weeks.

Bupa Care Services’ operations director, Richard Jackson, said: “We have been making progress at the home and this has been recognised by residents and their relatives. Residents’ welfare is always our number one priority and we will help those who wish to move, while doing everything possible to continue to care for those who prefer to stay.”

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