Barnet UNISON is shocked and saddened by the CQC report which details poor staffing levels resulting in poor staff morale and unsafe working practices at Apthorp Lodge. We have already recommenced asking for Apthorp Lodge to be brought back under direct Barnet Council management. We believe this is the safest way forward for all residents and would be of immense benefit to the staff. Care workers do not go to work wanting to do a bad job. They deserve to know that they are working for an employer which manages them well and fairly and which enables them to be the best they can be.
The CQC report is critical of the actions of staff but highlights how poor the staffing ratios are, how little training has been given and how necessary information for staff to carry out their role is either not present or is inadequate. It also highlights positive interactions observed with staff. It is particularly critical of the leadership of Apthorp Lodge although it acknowledges the current manager had only been in place a few weeks before the inspection took place.
“The ‘effective’ audit identified gaps in care plans and a need for greater personalisation. However, the actions required did not have a timescale for completion and had not been delegated to a named member of staff. The actions had not been completed effectively by the time of our inspection in December 2018 despite some of them being recorded as requiring “immediate” action.”
“While people’s routines were described, their preferences were not consistently recorded.”
“The impact of the staffing levels described in the safe domain had a significant impact on people’s dignity. For example, we observed two people, on separate occasions, had soiled themselves and were walking through communal areas of the flats.”
“Three different staff members spoke to them briefly asking them to eat as they passed through the lounge but none of them sat with the person. The person’s meal was removed without them eating a bite.”
“Staff described how they supported the person when distressed, but there was no written guidance which mean new staff, or staff who knew the person less well did not have information about the impact of their health condition on their care needs.”
“Staff had not received the training they needed to perform their roles.”
“We reviewed the rotas for the service and these showed there were not always enough staff deployed to meet people’s needs”
“we saw a care worker gave one person a tablet then walked away before checking the person had actually swallowed their medicine. There was no information to inform this care worker about how to support this person to take their medicines properly.”
“The flooring in some bathrooms was damaged meaning that they could not be effectively cleaned and posed an infection control risk. Where they were not damaged the floors were dirty and water stained.”
The effect on the residents is extremely damaging. Yet if Apthorp Lodge is closed and the residents have to move to another placement, this will prove fatal for many residents as studies show 37% of residents forced to move die within 1 year of that move. Furthermore the distress caused by the move means that their last months and weeks are deeply traumatic.
We believe this is unnecessary and Barnet Council should act to take back control of Apthorp Lodge in order to safeguard the residents there and provide good support and leadership to the staff so that they can do the job to the best of their ability.
Notes to Editors:
Barnet UNISON submits London Living Wage proposal to Fremantle Trust
“Is ‘Low pay, poor terms & conditions’ good for social care services in Barnet?”
Fremantle Trust propose big cuts to pay for care workers
Fremantle care workers campaign – relaunch 7 August 2008