Council chiefs have vowed “we can and will do better” after their Portsoy care home received damning criticism from inspectors.
They found residents at the Durnhythe Residential Care Home sitting in the dark because no member of staff had thought to turn on lights.
In other cases, they were found to be simply “staring into space” or fast asleep in public areas due to boredom and a lack of stimulation.
The Care Inspectorate report assessed the care home as adequate or weak in each of five criteria and found it had failed to make improvements in the wake of a poor 2018 inspection.
Inspectors concluded that staff shortages were affecting the level of care and, worryingly, that medication was wrongly administered.
The Care Inspectorate voiced its concerns about the council-run home in a report based on an unannounced visit in July. It was a similar outcome to that following their inspection in 2018.
Support for people’s wellbeing and leadership were ranked as “weak” while staffing, setting and planning received “adequate” gradings.
Although areas of good practice were identified, these were “compromised by significant weaknesses” and the report revealed some shocking incidents.
It reads: “On day two of our visit we found that despite three residents sitting drinking tea in shared areas, the lights had not been switched on.
“The shared areas were bereft of items for people to hold their attention and engage with, as a result many people stared into space or fell asleep.
“It was disappointing that many of these areas had been identified in an audit in 2018 and the service had failed to make the suggested improvements.”
Last year’s inspection at the facility was damning, finding staff were slow to care for patients with dementia because they were “less able to complain”.
At that time, the council claimed an experienced care home manager had been drafted in to oversee improvements.
Following the latest report, it has apologised and vowed to “do better”.
When speaking to the 26 residents during their latest visit, inspectors found “boredom” to be the main issue among residents, along with staffing concerns.
One resident told them: “I spend my time watching television or looking out of the window. It can be a long day.”
Another added: “It makes my day to have a blether but this doesn’t happen often.”
Staffing at the Durn Road facility was found to be an issue as, while staff “worked hard”, they were given little time to spend with residents.
The shortage was highlighted by comments such as “I often buzz and have to wait an age”.
The report did, however, find improvements had been made, particularly in relation to the care documents.
But medication issues prevailed, giving rise to “significant concerns”, as the storage and recording of medication was not done in a safe manner and errors in medication were ignored, meaning the problems persisted.
Overall it was found the issues “had the potential to affect residents’ health outcomes”.
Mark Simpson, manager for the north Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, vowed that services would improve.
He said: “I am disappointed that we have not managed to sustain the improvements that we made and can only apologise for the level of service that we are currently providing at Durnhythe.
“We can and will do better for our residents.
“We have developed an action plan and, with the support of our dedicated and caring staff, are working hard to improve things within the home.”
Councillor Glen Reynolds said: “In the context of the council having committed a substantial amount of money to ensuring that the building at Durnhyth is fit for purpose, this latest report is clearly disappointing, as acknowledged by the council.
“I have absolute faith in the management team and their aims and expectations to ensure that this home is of an appropriate standard for its residents, but the staffing issues that are being encountered must be resolved in order that the care of the people in Durnhyth is both paramount and that they are kept safe.
“I hope that discussions urgently take place to realise this ambition and the wider hope that people within its care are resourced with sufficient staff and financed appropriately.
“Staffing in the care sector is an issue nationally and indeed, globally, so the situation here cannot be seen in isolation.
“But it is clear that the action points in the plan must be addressed as a priority. I will ask for an urgent update as to progress in the near future.”