Jersey care home residents left without hot water and lift in 'Occupation'-style conditions – unannounced inspection finds

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MAINTENANCE issues at a care home – which meant some residents had to wash with cold water in conditions ‘like the Occupation’ – have been revealed in a report by the Jersey Care Commission.

L’Hermitage Care Home said problems relating to hot water as well as with a first-floor lift – which prevented some residents from spending time with their families – had been addressed since an inspection by the commission earlier this year.

The unannounced inspection was conducted on 29 January after the JCC was informed of concerns about a limited or absent hot-water supply and poor staffing levels at night.

Inspecting officers noted ‘signs of wear and tear’ and several maintenance issues during their visit.

The resulting report stated that, at the time of the inspection, the ability of residents ‘to have all their personal care needs met consistently’ was being compromised by inconsistent access to hot water, with staff reporting that they sometimes had to rely on taking boiled water from the kitchen to help residents wash.

Feedback from care receivers was also included in the report, with one resident claiming shower temperatures had been ‘hit and miss’ for weeks.

Another said the supply of hot water had been ‘dreadful’ from the start of December.

‘I had to be washed and cleaned up after I used the toilet and (a staff member) had to wash me with freezing water after the toilet. It’s like the Occupation,’ they commented.

A response from L’Hermitage Care Home included within the report said the water supply concern had been ‘permanently addressed’.

‘However, we continue to monitor daily at present to ensure uninterrupted hot water is available in all bedrooms.

‘Many issues regarding water supply related to a misdiagnosis of issues by the previous operator’s plumbing and heating contractor. A different contractor is now supporting the home,’ it stated.

The report also highlighted that the first-floor lift had recently been non-operational ‘for at least one month’, leaving 19 care receivers unable to use any of the communal areas on the ground floor or access the external areas of the home or wider community.

‘This is the second time within eight to nine months that the lift has been broken,’ it continued, noting that one care receiver had said they missed being able to get out with their family.

‘Another spoke of having missed an important family occasion; how they had purchased a new outfit for the occasion and had ultimately been unable to go,’ it added.

The JCC also cited concerns around staffing shortages within the home, although it said that feedback from residents regarding the care they received was ‘generally good’ and that ‘most care receivers spoke highly of the care staff’.

In a statement, a spokesperson for L’Hermitage Care Home said: ‘We take all feedback from the Jersey Care Commission very seriously and since the inspection we have held a positive meeting with the commission. We are pleased the report highlights that our residents spoke highly of our care staff and of the care they received.

‘We are about to commence a refurbishment of the home, with works due to be completed by 31 May 2023. Bedroom hot-water access has been restored and the lift is now operational. Three additional care assistants have commenced employment.’

They added: ‘Our absolute priority is to ensure that our residents are happy and healthy and we look forward to demonstrating improvements at the home when it is next inspected.’

In the report, the care home also said it was purchasing a stair-climbing machine ‘which will support care receivers in the event of any lift malfunction’.

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