Former worker slams Vauxhall care home criticised by watchdog

A former member of staff has slammed a church-run care home which was told it needs to improve by inspectors.

St Peter’s Home in Meadow Road, Vauxhall, was given a “needs improvement” rating by the Care Quality Commission in April – but the former employee says its work looking after the elderly is not good enough.

The cleaner, who does not want to be named, said she had seen procedures which left residents and staff at risk.

The Roman Catholic organisation which runs the home says it will investigate the claims under its whistle-blower procedures after consulting its legal advisers.

The staff member, a former employee of a special school, reported that:

  • She was given only a mask but not whole-face covering, or feet covers, when working – her diabetic 25-year-old son was later in hospital for four days with symptoms of Covid-19. Another staff member’s 14-year-old son caught it and was in hospital five days
  • A resident with Covid-19 should have been in isolation but was allowed to walk around the home
  • There were no proper recording of accidents or incidents – “It was like there was a policy of not monitoring anything,” said the former employee
  • Five residents have died during the pandemic

St Peter’s, which has 59 older people across four separate units, is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic charity.

The whistleblower said: “If you discuss a private matter it goes around the building.

“My husband visited for 20 minutes and said ‘you need to come out of there’.

The cleaner added: “I wanted to look after people for my job. It was my first care home and it will be my last. I feel for the residents and their families.

“The nuns who run it are living in the past. There is no recording of phone calls which is a big concern.

“The sisters did not tell anyone which residents had Covid – you only heard it through gossip.”

The CQC report published on April 2 said: “Medicines were not always managed safely, with registered nurses not demonstrating full knowledge in medicines administration.

“Fire drill procedures were not always as robust as they could be to ensure safety was routinely checked.

“Management quality assurance systems were not always effective in identifying issues in a timely manner.

“Improvements required in medicines and fire safety had not been previously identified by the provider.

“The environment was not as dementia friendly as it could be, to support with orientation. We have made a recommendation in relation to reviewing appropriate dementia friendly environments.”

However it also noted: “Staff were safely recruited, with some improvements needed to ensure that full employment history was up to date.

“Incidents and accidents were appropriately responded to. The home was very clean and well maintained.

“People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests; the policies and systems in the service supported this practice.

“People were well supported with their nutritional needs and were able to access healthcare professionals when they needed to. Staff were well supported through induction, supervision and training.

“People and relatives felt that people were well cared for, in a friendly and accommodating environment.

“Staff ensure they respected people’s privacy and dignity, whilst supporting them to be independent.

“Complaints were responded to as necessary. People had their communication needs supported and received personalised care.

“There were a range of activities available for people to participate in if they chose to. People, relatives and staff were positive about management support, and spoke highly of the teamwork approach to ensure people received good care.”

The CQC’s rating scheme concluded:

  • The service was not always safe.
  • The service was not always effective.
  • The service was caring
  • The service was responsive
  • The service was not always well-led.

Mother Provincial Caroline Emmanuel, head of the Little Sisters, said: “These allegations will be investigated under our whistle-blowing procedures.

“We will have to speak to our legal advisers then investigate all the allegations made.”

The home’s website says: “We care for the elderly poor in the spirit of humble service which we have received from (founder) Jeanne Jugan.

“We welcome the elderly as we would Jesus Christ himself and serve them with love and respect until death.

“We adhere at all times to the Philosophy, Ethics and Moral Law of the Catholic Church, from whom the congregation has received its mission.”

Pictured top: St Peter’s Home in Meadow Road, Vauxhall

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