Nursing home staff were told to re-use PPE during lockdown due to stock shortages, a report has claimed.
It is alleged that staff at Ridgeway Nursing Home, in Crich Lane, Belper, said they felt residents were being “neglected” as they could not provide them with the quality of care they needed.
The claims are made in a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection at the site on January 18, this year.
However, the people who run the home says they disagree with large parts of the report, which was published in March, and insist the home is a safe and caring place for residents.
The home, which had 26 residents at the time of the inspection, cares for people aged 65 or older and had previously been rated as Good by the healthcare watchdog.
The unannounced inspection was carried out during the height of the third national lockdown and the second wave of the Covid pandemic.
The report says when inspectors arrived there, the registered manager and nominated individual were not at work due to illness and had not arranged for someone with the appropriate experience to cover the role.
Upon entering the building, inspectors said they saw a number of things violating government guidance on dealing with Covid.
This included seeing staff wear the same PPE all day, with staff telling them “they had been instructed to take disposable aprons home and bring them back to work the next day because there was insufficient supply to dispose of these”.
It said: “We saw people walking and sitting close to each other in communal areas and some staff did not know if people were positive or negative for Covid-19.”
It added: “The records kept in the home did not demonstrate that people had been regularly offered Covid-19 testing.
“The provider told us they did not routinely test people for Covid-19, but only sought testing if they developed symptoms. This is contrary to government guidelines.”
It is also claimed staff told inspectors they did not believe people were always safe and protected from harm.
One staff member told them: “The residents are being neglected, we can’t give them the quality they need, we have no idea how to manage Covid, we just do our best.”
The report said one person’s records showed they had fallen 14 times before they were referred to a health care professional for review.
Inspectors said they did not doubt the caring attitude of staff towards people living there.
It said: “Staff were kind and caring and relative’s spoke highly of them. There were enough staff on duty and we saw staff treated people with kindness and compassion.”
However, the report added staff were not always up to date with training and did not feel supported to complete it.
One staff member told inspectors: “We don’t get any guidance, no-one helps us, we just do our best because we genuinely care for the people who live here.”
One nurse said they had been expected to fulfil a management role while the registered manager and deputy manager were off work due to illness.
A nurse said: “We need support, we need guidance, we need a manager, we’re doing everything, we’ve all been ill with Covid, we’re fatigued, we can’t keep doing this.”
The inspectors added they saw “low levels of staff satisfaction and high levels of stress”, with staff saying there was a “blame culture and bullying”.
They also added they believed the home had not been informing the CQC when people died at the home.
It said: “In 2020 the provider had only submitted notifications about two people’s deaths.
“When we reviewed documents at the home we identified 19 people who we believed had died at the home in this time.”
In a statement, Ridgeway Nursing Home said it is challenging the findings of the report.
“We are very disappointed with the CQC’s recent inspection report,” it said.
“We disagree with many of the points raised and are challenging the CQC’s findings.
“Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of all the people we care for and we continue to work proactively with our stakeholders to ensure that we offer the best and safest care possible to our clients.
“We are committed to continuously improving our service and have implemented a range of enhancements at our Home.
“We are pleased to say that Ridgeway Nursing Home continues to receive consistently positive feedback from our residents and their families.”