A NURSING home where a third of residents were on the verge of malnutrition was named yesterday by care inspectors.
The Fairfield Nursing Home in Inverness was found to have 11 residents, from a total of 32, “at nutritional risk” after visits by the Care Inspectorate between last November and March.
The watchdog reported: “We found service users’ weight was significantly lower in February and March than in November. We would have expected to see a larger weight gain.”
It called for improved menu planning, special diets and care planning for people “at risk of being under or overweight”. The inspectors said that fluid intake charts were also “poorly kept” and recorded intakes below minimum targets.
It added: “We found food and drinks left untouched, though recorded as taken. Residents who were bedbound and unable to help themselves had very dry mouths.”
The report said menu planning for the elderly is complex but added: “We found the service does not fully understand dietary needs of older people in care homes and how to plan a menu to meet these. All residents, including those overweight, had butter and cream added to some dishes. Except for one resident, all receive full-fat milk.”
The report, written by Shona Smith concluded the home must draw up a menu plan for at least three weeks, based on an assessment of needs and preferences. She called for an oral care plan, covering drinks.
“Residents who need assistance to eat and drink had very dry mouths. There should be a plan to guide staff as to how to care for their mouths,” she said.
Taj Manda, who owns the home and plans another in Inverness, blamed “red tape” for the failings and claimed the criticism left somestaff in tears.
“We are very aggrieved. We do a lot for our residents, and have a new home due to open, providing employment for 50-60 people,” he said. “I have been in the care industry for nearly 30 years. On the one hand I can understand the Care Inspectorate – they’re working for the good of the client – but they brought in too many changes too quickly and we’re trying to adjust. At the end of the day, it’s humans treating humans. They’re not robots, they’re fallible. I have got a lot stricter with staff and they’re beginning to understand we have got to bring standards up.”
In addition to the nutritional issues, the Care Inspectorate said some staff failed to adhere to medication policy.
“On occasion, residents were administered prescribed medicines from someone else’s packet. We also found an old inhaler for someone who used an inhaler four times each day,” the report said.
“We found residents who did not have access to a call bell from their bed. One resident had two bells in her room. The nearest did not work, and the other was too far away.”