A Falkirk care home – which received a damning report from the Care Inspectorate last year – found significant improvement had been made in a short period of time.
More staff have been recruited to Summerford House care home, which can accommodate up to 27 people, and all the staff have been given better training and asked for their input in how to make improvements. Crucial health and safety failings – which had shocked inspectors – have been addressed, councillors heard and faulty equipment had been replaced immediately. Members of Falkirk Council’s external scrutiny committee were told that the Care Inspectorate report had gone from unsatisfactory to adequate – a jump of two gradings. Social work head Joe McElholm paid tribute to the staff who had worked hard to make the changes required but added that this was far from the end of the journey. He said: “I would never be content or happy to have a service recorded as adequate, but for a service in a very short time to move up two points on the Care Inspectorate grading scale is unusual. “That’s not to be complacent – the people working in the care home would have wanted the gradings to be fours and next year we want to be fives.” The report which hit the headlines in December was highly critical of the lack of leisure opportunities for residents but the latest unannounced inspection in March found this had been greatly improved. This time, the inspector heard many positive comments from residents, who all spoke very highly of the staff. The latest report also noted that the home had been redecorated, a gym created to support reablement work and an atrium space had been re-developed to provide social activities. December’s inspection had also slammed the way in which residents did not have control over their own medication, a big failing for those who were supposed to be preparing to return to their own homes. The follow-up noted service users can now manage their own medication in their rooms, prompted by staff, and residents also now have access to their own money. Councillor David Grant congratulated the staff on how quickly the service had been turned around. But he added: “It seems once again we were a bit complacent with the staff and we weren’t talking to them and asking them their concerns. “I’m happy to hear we’re now giving them the training they need and talking to them.” Health and Social Care chief officer Patricia Cassidy wanted to reassure councillors that Summerford House was an ‘outlier’ and was not typical of the standard of care in other council run homes. Councillor Lynn Munro said: “It’s clear a lot of work has been done but we need to look how our own self-evaluation failed to identify the service failures.” Ms Cassidy said they would be investing in a new quality assurance team through the Integrated Joint Board, which manages health and social care services jointly, to “pick up very quickly any blips or changes in performance”.