We attended a series of meetings in January held by the Centre for relatives. From what we heard from family and friends at the meetings, we were concerned by:
- The prolonged period of poor quality care delivered to residents
- The low number of formal complaints received by the Centre compared with the high volume of concerns we heard from friends and family.
We also committed to carry out an Enter and View visit six months on, to find out what progress had been made since the change in management in January 2015 and to see how the Centre had responded to our recommendations.During our visit, we went into all three suites that were operational at the time (a fourth suite, Stuart suite, was closed for refurbishment).
We talked to 20 residents individually, one family member and a resident’s friend who were visiting, and four members of staff (three carers and the Activities Coordinator). We also held an interview with the Acting Centre Director a week before the visit.
External environment: the overall area was attractive, the garden furniture and patio area looked tired and was potentially unsafe. The large plastic table on the patio had a broken side with jagged edges and two upright wooden chairs by the wall had ill fitting joints.
Internal environment: The front door is secure and for visitors to gain access there is a bell with an automated door controlled by staff at the reception desk. There is a good sized reception area which has the Centre Manager’s and administration offices leading from it. A lift and stairs to the three other floors are situated in the corridor beyond, which also leads to one of the suites. There is an access code to operate the lift and to open the door to the stairs on each floor.
- Meeting residents: Seven residents said they liked living at the Centre, mentioning how they enjoyed looking at the view and talking with other residents in the lounge. One person expressed concern about leaving: ‘I Iike living here. I am a bit concerned that when I get better they will have to find me another place.’ Another six residents were more ambivalent.
We made a series of recommendations based on the visit:
- The garden area should be risk assessed and hazards removed as soon as possible to ensure residents’ safety.
- The Centre should ensure through its cyclical decorations programme that all decoration schemes and furnishings are dementia friendly.
- The Centre’s management team should develop a process for assessing and monitoring the general wellbeing of residents, not just their physical needs.
Our impression is that Dulwich Care Centre now delivers a generally good level of service to its residents. Progress since the change in management in January has clearly been substantial. A key consideration will be to ensure that the new mechanisms, policies and procedures are embedded for the long term.