‘Woeful failures’ in the monitoring of a Halifax care home led to months of neglect for its vulnerable elderly residents.
Senior directors at Calderdale Council were called before the council’s adults, health and social care scrutiny panel to answer questions about how multiple agencies overlooked ‘collective abuse’ at Elm View nursing home, Halifax.
In a damning report Bev Maybury, the council’s director of adults, health and social care, outlined a catalogue of failings and made 40 recommendations for monitoring the 41 adult care homes in Calderdale.
Iain Baines. head of safeguarding and quality at the council, told the panel that there had been many missed opportunities to identify neglect at the home.
He said complaints had been made to different agencies including to councillors, GPs, social workers and the police, but said there had been nothing in place to gain an overall picture.
He said: “Elm View was a horrific situation - it is woeful that we didn’t act so quickly.
“We didn’t have a formal process for dealing with large-scale investigations, and that has changed.
“The council was dealing with complaints as individual instances - people couldn’t see the wood for the trees - we have to apologise for that.”
The home was closed following an inspection by police and NHS staff on October 7, 2011.
Officers found residents with pressure sores, urine-soaked sheets, inadequate equipment and poor levels of hygiene.
Mr Baines told the panel that the home had come into financial difficulties which contributed to the neglect.
He said care was not personalised and that there were concerns about the state of repair of the building.
He added that a combination of high staff turnover and ‘chaotic’ care records meant that staff at the home were unable to get a consistent picture of residents’ individual needs.
The pair responsible for the neglect at Elm View - owner Philip Bentley and manager Faheza Simpson were both sentenced to 12 months in prison in December 2013.
Ms Maybury said that since 2012 her department had implemented many of the recommendations and was looking to make sure this level of neglect can never happen again in Calderdale.
She said: “We have a very clear view of where we are and what we need to do.”