Derbyshire care home closes after CQC report finds worker bullying residents

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A Matlock care home has closed permanently after being placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for a series of failings including a member of staff who allegedly bullied residents.

Inspectors made three unannounced visits to Masson House Care Home, on Derby Road, in August and September and their report was published on Wednesday, November 15. At the time, the home was providing self-funded care for 16 older adults.

Their verdict rated the service as Inadequate on each of five main criteria, a downgrade from the overall rating of Good at the last inspection in 2018.

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According to the CQC, the latest inspection visit resulted in a decision to suspend the manager’s registration to practice until February 2, 2024 – effectively preventing them from delivering care services.

Masson House Care Home overlooks the famous Masson Mills on Derby Road near Cromford. (Image: Google)Masson House Care Home overlooks the famous Masson Mills on Derby Road near Cromford. (Image: Google)
Masson House Care Home overlooks the famous Masson Mills on Derby Road near Cromford. (Image: Google)

Greg Rielly, regional deputy director of the CQC, said: “When we inspected Masson House, we were disappointed to find a poor culture had developed that allowed standards of care to slip. Leaders need to prioritise making urgent improvements, particularly regarding people’s safety and how their needs are being met.

“It was very concerning that some people had experienced verbal abuse and bullying from a staff member which is totally unacceptable in a place they call their home. This had been reported to the manager, but nothing had changed, and it hadn’t been referred as a safeguarding issue to the local authority.”

He added: “We also saw some unsafe areas of the home where people could be harmed, for example, several hot water outlets including showers weren’t temperature controlled which placed people at risk of scalding. There were also exposed hot water pipes and radiators which could cause burns if touched, and several windows didn’t have opening restrictors which placed people at risk of falling from height.

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“It was upsetting to hear people say that they often felt cold in the home and had to sit with double jumpers on or blankets over their legs. People deserve to have their basic care needs met and the provider needs to ensure people are warm enough on a daily basis.

“We will continue to monitor the service closely to ensure the necessary improvements are made, and if these are not made by the time the registration suspension ends, we will not hesitate to take further enforcement action.”

The report noted allegations of bullying and verbal abuse from a member of staff, with one colleague saying: “A lot of staff, and some of the residents too, have raised concerns about one of the staff shouting at the residents. I have voiced my concerns to [registered manager] but nothing happened about it. Nothing gets reported.”

Another said: “Residents have complained about a staff member being horrible and nasty towards them to a few of us and we've told the manager.”

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Further issues were identified with the home’s management of residents’ medicines, catering, activities, numerous safety hazards and staffing.

One relative told inspectors: “I sometimes can't find a single staff member when I visit. I often have to just let myself in because no one answers the door when I arrive.

“I don't think they have enough staff. You never really see any of the staff having the time to just sit and chat with the residents.”

Staffing was further cited as a cause of hygiene lapses, which include clothes being laundered and medicines stored in a room where black mould was spreading.

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One worker said: “Care staff are supposed to do the daily cleaning as we go along, but there just isn’t time to do a proper job of the cleaning. Some of the rooms smell really badly of urine because it has soaked into the flooring and carpets. The cleaning is terrible at times.

That view was supported by another colleague, who said: “There's never a cleaner on every day… and it's definitely the most unclean the home has ever been. It smells unpleasant and we have no cleaners at weekends.”

Elsewhere, the report states: “One person told us they did not want to live at Masson House but there was no evidence found that they were being supported to move to a different care home.

“People on end-of-life care did not always appear to be treated with compassion and empathy … People were not supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and the provider did not have suitable processes in place to ensure potential restrictions on people's liberty were legally authorised and in their best interests.”

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Inspectors also found: “The registered manager told us that no-one received their prescribed medicines covertly. However, staff told us a person did receive their medicines hidden in a drink. There were no records to demonstrate that had been discussed and authorised by the prescriber.”

Another member of staff told the CQC: “The staff really care about the residents, but when we raise concerns, nothing changes, and we are worried that we will get into trouble.”

While the report states that the service would be kept under review, it appears that operator Hazel Boam has decided to pre-empt further action by shutting the facility.

Although she did not directly confirm that when asked by the Derbyshire Times, an online listing now describes it as ‘Permanently Closed’.

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Ms Boam said only: “Masson House has enjoyed the reputation for supporting good homely care for over the past 30 years. Sadly this lovely old House no-longer achieves the new standards being imposed by CQC.

“We have been privileged to have been able to support so many families and loved ones over the years, also the support of the local community and especially the great staff without whom none of this would have been possible.”

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