‘No concerns’ after homes inspections

Ged Hall.
Ged Hall.

INSPECTORS found no “significant concerns” after a programme of unannounced care home visits.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s commissioned services team recently inspected 21 older people care homes in town in order to make sure they are meeting the needs of residents.

Officers say the unannounced visits, on weekends and evenings, are carried out to ensure they meet the relevant contractual requirements.

Labour councillor Ged Hall, portfolio holder for adult and public health services, discussed the recent inspections at a council meeting.

The visits covered meals and nutrition, activities within the home, general appearance and also staffing levels.

The Hartlepool Mail reported on Wednesday how town care homes hit back at Dame Judi Dench after the film star labelled their living conditions “inhumane”.

Home bosses said people have “stereotypical” views about the care they provide and would be surprised by the wide range of activities on offer.

Jill Harrison, assistant director adult social care, said: “There was some real benefit to unannounced visits.

“The feedback is still being collected, but none highlighted any significant concerns in terms of us going in and looking in more detail.”

In total, Hartlepool has 32 care homes.

There are 21 older people care homes, nine for people with a learning disability and two for those with mental health problems that the council contracts with.

Coun Hall was told that there are currently no moratoriums in place on any care homes within Hartlepool, while two have been lifted.

Moratoriums are issued when there are concerns about a care home over anything from a safeguarding issue or whether the home is meeting the contractual arrangements.

New admissions are closed while issues are addressed before the moratorium is lifted.

Meanwhile, quarterly surveys on occupancy levels have also been carried out.

The latest figures, from September 2011, show older people care homes have an average occupancy level of 77 per cent, learning disabilities 92 per cent while mental health is at full capacity.

Coun Hall said: “There seems to be an issue with the under occupancy of some care homes.

“The agenda of keeping people in their homes for longer could be a positive sign why there is under-occupancy at some homes.

“Personal budgets mean it may be cheaper for some people to pay for services in their own home rather than moving into a care home.”

It was also reported that in August last year, TL Care, which owned Queens Meadow, was taken over by Hill Care.

Meanwhile, the delivery of care in Elwick Grange transferred from Southern Cross to Care UK in October last year.

Officers said both organisations have successfully completed the accreditation process.

Coun Hall will receive regular reports about commissioned services.