Care home resident 'punched in the face' in dispute over laptop

An elderly resident was punched at an inadequate care home in a dispute over a laptop, a report said.

Thursday, 5th March 2020, 3:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th March 2020, 3:06 pm

The incident happened at Springfield Grange Care Home in Hemsworth, after the resident had assaulted a member of staff who'd asked for the computer.

The punch took place in front of inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which oversees care homes across the UK.

Springfield Grange, which is run by Horizon Care, was rated inadequate in a report published last week.

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The incident happened at Springfield Grange Care Home, in Hemsworth.

The company has apologised to patients and their families, but claimed the report "does not accurately reflect" the service. Horizon also said it was challenging the CQC's findings and rating.

Inspectors criticised the home for a number of failings after their visit last June and July, including having "insufficient numbers of competent staff" and failing to act on room temperatures that were too hot.

The CQC said staff, who were praised for being kind and caring,"did not have the skills or expertise to appropriately manage" challenging behaviour.

The report added: "For example, one member of staff noticed a person had the laptop and asked for it back. This distressed the person, as the laptop was important to them at that moment in time.

"The person shouted and hit the staff member. Another person saw this and punched the person with the laptop in the face.

"The member of staff displayed no awareness of how to work with the person to prevent behaviours which challenge. The situation escalated resulting in the assault of two people."

Inspectors said there was a "lack of review of accidents and incidents", adding, "There were many instances of physical altercations between people who used the service and against staff.

The report also described how one resident was "left outside" and "unable to get back in" after they were taken into the garden for a cigarette.

Inspectors told how staff "struggled to work" in hot conditions in Springfield Grange's laundry room and kitchen, which at one point reached temperatures of 34 degrees.

But the report said: "Staff had raised concerns about how hot their working environment was, but this concern had not been acted on.

"When we raised this with a director of the company at inspection, they denied the building was too hot."

However, the workers were universally praised for their efforts in improving quality of life for those in their care.

Inspectors added: "Everyone thought the staff were good and worked very hard. One relative said: "The staff work very hard. They're nice staff.""

Responding to the findings, Horizon Care said in a statement: "We understand that the report may be concerning to some of our clients, their families and friends and for that we are sorry.

"The report has been disappointing for everyone at Springfield Grange.

"The care and support of our clients and their families is our primary concern.

"We would like to reassure our clients and their family and friends of our continued commitment to providing quality care and support.

"The report rightly recognises the continuing hard work, kindness and caring nature of our staff. We would like to thank them all for their continuing commitment and professionalism.

"It is our belief that the report as published does not accurately reflect the service at the time of the inspection or recognise the evidence of good practice readily available.

"Because of this, we have, and are continuing to, challenge the accuracy of the report and inspection rating with the support of our legal representatives.

"Nevertheless, we have agreed our action plan for the areas identified in the report to enhance our existing standards, governance and assurance processes.

"As an accountable care organisation, we will continue to work in partnership with local stakeholders and agencies including the CQC to ensure we deliver safe and compassionate care in environments that our clients expect and deserve.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank clients, family, staff and others for their continued support for Springfield Grange."

On its website, the CQC said it was carrying out a review of quality at the service, pending a new report.

Local Democracy Reporting Service