FOLLOWING last week’s story about inspectors finding “a significant decline in the quality of the service” at Mount View care home, a source, who does not wish to be identified, claims that lack of funding is at the heart of the problems at the home.
Staff at Mount View look after adults with learning disabilities and complex health needs and Hawick based charity Streets Ahead are contracted by NHS Borders to provide the care.
“Mount View does not receive adequate funding to be able to have enough staff to give one to one care,” said the insider who argues that six staff is the minimum required for each shift.
“Four carers looking after eight wheelchair users, every one of whom needs two carers to attend to their personal care needs, bathing, etc. due to their complex health needs and varying degrees of mobility. If two residents need personal care attended to the other six residents are left unattended. Now if the six that were left in wheelchairs without being strapped in fell out of their wheelchairs, who would be negligent?
“The figure four is the number “dreamed up by the powers that be” that is deemed adequate staffing! Streets Ahead are fighting to have more staff on shift.
“The staff ‘on the floor’ at Mount View are excellent carers, hardworking and conscientious and the safety and best interests of residents is paramount.
“I congratulate the care staff themselves for recording all of their actions; it shows that they themselves were not trying to hide anything and that they were following support plans. In fact this whole investigation started because Streets Ahead themselves, asked for guidance!
“Interestingly it is some of the very people/agencies who have conducted this investigation who decide funding levels for the care required at Mount View. Are they going to investigate themselves? Cuts, cuts and more cuts, then blame the carers on the floor when things go pear-shaped!
“These investigations are brilliant at pointing out shortcomings and mistakes, but totally inept at actually coming up with workable solutions.
“This investigation clearly shows a need for better support plans (with multi agency involvement) to ensure that best practice and legislation. All very well, but getting multi-disciplinary teams around the table to discuss issues, takes time. And it doesn’t help the carers who have to act in the present and respond to situations as they find them.
“Individual support plans need to have enough fluidity to meet the ever changing needs of the residents. What might be an excellent support plan one month, may not necessarily be appropriate the following month, due to illness, dietary requirements & changes in medication etc.
“It is also worth pointing out that it has been the new management in place at Streets Ahead that has been solely responsible for the improvements seen to the building and the processes for support planning for each resident, leading to a far more pleasant, resident friendly environment.
“The carers at Mount View are not just carers, they are cleaners, laundry assistants, activities co-ordinators, maintenance engineers, gardeners, fire safety officers, first aiders, manicurists, chauffeurs, telephonists and secretaries. All of them do an excellent job, in very difficult, sometimes stressful and physically demanding circumstances.”