Damning report into Isle of Skye nursing home

Residents were left lying in urine and faeces, one person was served a meal which presented a choking risk and medicine wasn’t safely administered.

These are just some of the shocking findings highlighted today in the Care Inspectorate’s report on Home Farm nursing home on Skye.

Between May 4th and August 20th, the Care Inspectorate carried out five inspection visits of the home where 10 residents died following an outbreak of Coronavirus in late April.

Today three separate reports have been published by the Care Inspectorate.

The findings detail the “unsatisfactory” levels of care delivered at the home – which included residents lying in faeces and urine, and one person being left at risk of choking due to the texture of their meal.

Two inspections took place on 4th and 6th May, while further visits were conducted on 13th May, then in July and August.

The first two inspections led to the health body issuing a notice to the operators HC-One to make immediate improvements to the “environment, management, and leadership of the nursing home”.

After the third inspection visit the inspectorate launched court action to remove HC-One’s operating license.

Chronic staffing shortages, and their impact on hygiene control, had been flagged up by inspectors in January, but despite the warnings the home continued to accept new residents in the weeks leading up to and after the UK lockdown.

Home Farm was graded as unsatisfactory in all aspects of its care – the lowest grade a home can receive. Inspectors assessed wellbeing, leadership, staffing and setting of the home and how well care and support are planned.

NHS and HC-One staff were urgently deployed to Home Farm in response to a COVID-19 outbreak. All the people living and working in the home were tested. 29 people living in the home and 26 staff tested positive.

The report stated that while most staff were kind and helpful there were concerns that some people were not treated with respect.

There were occasions when bedroom doors were left open while people received personal care, and that people’s continence needs not being met and people were left with food round their mouths after eating.

It went on to read: “A person who was upset was described as ‘attention-seeking’.

“Some people did not receive the right support to eat and drink well. Staff told us that some people’s drinks were left out of reach, a person’s meal was untouched several hours after it had been served and a person was served a meal that was the wrong texture which increased their risk of choking.

“We were concerned that people did not receive the right level of support to manage their continence. Staff told us some people were lying in urine and faeces, including occasions when the urine and faeces had dried. “

Skye MSP Kate Forbes described the findings of the reports as “distressing and devastating in equal measure”.

She said: “Nothing will relieve the agonies of friends and families of residents reading these reports.

“Residents’ relatives have been through grief, turmoil and uncertainty and these reports will no doubt be a cause for anger, great sorrow, and further questions.”

John Kirk, HC-One Managing Director, Scotland said HC-One remained “deeply sorry for what has happened.”

He added: “The latest Care Inspectorate reports should reassure the whole local community that the care provision and the environment at the home have significantly improved over recent months. “Lessons have been and will continue to be learned from this experience, and we have taken steps to strengthen our oversight process so that we can prevent anything like this happening again.”

After improvements were noted, the court action against HC-One was dropped.

Publication of the report came on the same day health secretary Jeane Freeman announced that NHS Highland had secured the purchase of the Portree home from private operators HC-One after the government provided £900,000 of additional funding.

More to follow in next week’s Free Press.