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Aberdeenshire care home slammed for cleanliness of residents set to close

Craigard House in Ballater, which has been closed by its owner.
Craigard House in Ballater, which has been closed by its owner.

An Aberdeenshire care home slammed by inspectors has announced its closure – just days before a deadline for improvements.

The Care Inspectorate last visited Craigard House in Ballater in October, for the fourth time this year.

It flagged concerns about the care of residents, including the infrequency of their baths and showers – suggesting some conditions may have “worsened” as a result. 

The team rated the home’s support for its residents’ wellbeing and the overall environment “unsatisfactory” – the lowest possible rating.

Each previous time, the home had been ranked as “weak” or “adequate”.

The Care Inspectorate gave operators Craigard Care until December 17 to make a series of improvements.

But now managing director Stephen Cowie sent a letter to residents’ families, saying the operation of the home was “no longer viable” and announcing it would close in March.

It is understood that residents and their families have met with representatives from the Care Inspectorate and Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) in the past week to discuss their relocation.

What was said in the most recent report?

Following their October 14 visit, inspectors said staff at Craigard House had failed to support people to effectively manage their medical conditions, “including those who experienced pain”, and said ineffective medications were not reviewed and replaced due to insufficient admin.

Some residents had to wait for extended periods of time to alert staff that they needed to go to the bathroom, resulting in “unnecessary discomfort”, the inspectors said.

The report says: “Some people did not look well cared for, some had food residue on their clothes and faces, and we saw that some people’s nails were dirty and uncut.

“Records showed that people were not regularly offered or encouraged to have a shower or a bath, despite some having a physical health need that would benefit from this.

“As a result, some health conditions may have gone unnoticed or worsened.”

The report also noted a toilet that was built on a plinth, meaning it was too high for the resident to use, and a bathroom door that had come off its runner and offered no privacy.

On a previous visit in March, bedrooms and private bathrooms were described as “highly cluttered, visibly dusty and occasionally dirty in places”.

‘No hope of recovery’

In a statement, Mr Cowie described the issues raised by the inspectorate at Craigard House as “apparently unsurmountable”.

He said: “As a result of the already well-publicised issues affecting the long-term viability of the entire care sector in Scotland (which are even more acute in rural areas such as Ballater) and due to the continued, apparently unsurmountable issues raised by both the CI and AHSCP, Craigard House Care Home rapidly shifted into the realms of non-viability, with no hope of recovery.

“All of our residents and their representatives, as well as the affected staff, have been informed of this regrettable decision.

“In the meantime, we continue to work collaboratively with the AHSCP and the CI during this difficult time to support those affected and ensure we provide the residents of Craigard House with ongoing care until such time as the last resident is re-homed.”

A spokeswoman for the Care Inspectorate said: “We are aware of the care provider’s decision to voluntarily cancel their registration of this service.

“We remain in close contact with Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership and the provider as they support residents to move to other care services.

“We expect that any transition to new care arrangements will ensure residents’ needs are met and their rights are respected.”

An AHSCP spokesman said: “Craigard Care Home in Ballater has announced it is closing and the Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership has met with all the residents and their families.

“We are supporting the onward placement of residents in alternative homes which suit their individual needs.”

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