Falkirk care home must take urgent action to avoid closure

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A Falkirk care home which looks after people with learning disabilities has been given an ultimatum to carry out a raft of improvements by July 22 or face closure.

Southfields care home in Slamannan, whose residents are aged 16 to 35, has been handed a formal Improvement Notice ordering urgent remedial action following an inspection which raised serious concerns.

If it fails to comply the Care Inspectorate aims to cancel its registration under Section 64 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.

A spokesperson for the home, run by Swanton Care, says it has already put a plan of action in place.

The notice lists four areas which require urgent improvement.

In particular it says management and staff at the care home must make sure “no service user is subject to restraint unless this is the only practicable means of securing their welfare.”

Where restraint is necessary it must be used appropriately and as a last resort to ensure the residents’ safety.

Where service users’ independence and choice is restricted this should be justified, kept to a minimum and done sensitively.

And staff must also ensure restraint is only used when necessary to prevent harm to the individuals, and that it’s the least restrictive option available.

Management must additionally ensure any treatment or intervention is safe and effective, and residents must be kept safe and protected from harm and abuse.

Service users must also experience individualised care and support which meets their individual needs.

The home has additionally been ordered to reduce instances of behaviours that cause concern, respond to these quickly and positively, and ensure staff are properly trained to deal with them.

It has to ensure such instances are reported to the Care Inspectorate and other agencies, and analyse patterns of behaviour that cause concern - and continuously improve the way they are dealt with so as to reduce harm and distress.

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: “The Improvement Notice we have issued clearly lays out the improvements we must see so that the care experienced by residents improves quickly.

“We will visit this care home again soon to check on progress and if we are not satisfied that the matters raised are being addressed urgently we will not hesitate to take further action.

“Everyone in Scotland has the right to safe, compassionate care which meets their needs and respects their rights.

“Anyone with a concern can contact our helpline on 0345 600 9527.”

A spokesperson for Swanton Care, acknowleding the findings, said: “We have already put in a place an action plan to address the concerns raised following this inspection, and we look forward to working with the Inspectorate in the weeks and months ahead to demonstrate the improvements that have been made and will continue to be made.

“Southfields is a well-established care home and we, alongside the staff and family members, are all very disappointed with this turn of events.

“As a group we are completely committed to the delivery of quality in all our care services and the safety and wellbeing of residents remains our utmost priority at all times.”