A care home where 19 residents died after a coronavirus outbreak has been severely criticised for ‘weak’ infection control following a surprise inspection.
Milk was in a fridge that was not switched on and clean laundry was dumped on the floor, a report into Lomond Court Nursing Home in Fife found.
The Care Inspectorate said poor cleanliness had “compromised” the safety of residents.
Risks at the home, which provides 24-hour nursing care and support to 40 older people with dementia, could have been avoided, the watchdog said.
The regulator issued the care home a ‘letter of serious concern’ on January 12 after finding problems with infection control practices during an unannounced inspection.
They described the home environment as ‘unsatisfactory’ and said they found food and milk not covered or dated and stored in a fridge that was not clean or switched on.
The report said staff and residents were put at risk by the management of clinical waste which they slammed as not satisfactory.
It noted clinical waste storage bins used were not locked, and expressed “significant concerns” about clean laundry being on the floor.
The report stated: “We concluded that people’s welfare and safety was compromised by risks which could be avoided, and that immediate action was required.
“The home environment was unsatisfactory. Levels of cleanliness were poor and required immediate attention to help minimise the potential spread of infection.
“The management of clinical waste was not satisfactory which caused risks to staff, people living in the home and visitors.
“We had significant concerns about how the laundry was managed in the home.
“Clean laundry was on the laundry floor. We found foodstuff and milk was not covered or dated stored in a fridge that was not clean or switched on.
“We determined that there was no shared sense of responsibility, or clarity, amongst staff about their roles in ensuring the environment and the equipment was clean and free from infection.
“All of these issues increased the risks of infection to everyone in the home.
“People experiencing care were not appropriately protected because there was not adequate cleaning of the care home.”
Inspectors, however, said there had been “significant improvements” following unannounced visits to the home on the January, 15, 18 and 19.
The home and equipment used were much cleaner, and a number of areas – including sluices, bathrooms, toilets, laundry and storage areas – had been deep cleaned.
The report added: “Where equipment and furniture were no longer fit for purpose, or could not be cleaned effectively, these had been removed and disposed of.
“The manager had introduced enhanced checks of the environment and equipment to see these were cleaned to a high standard.
“These improvements help to minimise risk of cross infection for residents and staff.”
A spokesman for HC-One, which owns the home in Glenrothes, said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our residents is our number one priority, and we take all feedback from the Care Inspectorate very seriously.
“We were therefore disappointed by the CI’s findings from the inspection, and we acknowledge we had not achieved the high standards our residents rightfully expect and deserve.
“We took action to rectify the issues identified immediately and we have received positive reports on our progress since the CI visited.
“Our team are continuing to work diligently to ensure all feedback is addressed, the home has been provided extra support at a local and senior level and each resident’s care plan is being reviewed and updated as appropriate.
“We are confident that the home has high standards of infection control which allow our colleagues to deliver the safest and highest quality care.
“We are working closely with all relevant authorities and we are certain that the CI will be able to see further improvements at our next inspection.”