Following family members and former employees raising serious concerns about the standards of care and safety of residents living with dementia in Dunmurry Manor care home, the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland has announced a formal investigation.
Speaking about the investigation, the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch said: “Family members have made complaints to me about the care that their relatives received in Dunmurry manor. I have also heard from former employees that the care and protection of older people in the home was below acceptable standards and in some cases, caused harm to frail older people.”
Since opening in 2014, the care home has received a number of notifications from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) and the Health and Social Care Trusts about inadequate standards of care. At the end of January 2017 compliance had still not been achieved and the home is now formally closed to new admissions. In addition, further conditions for its ongoing operation have been applied.
The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland continued: “I am deeply concerned about allegations of serious failures of care at Dunmurry Manor and this has led me to carry out a full investigation under my legal powers. Health authorities have been monitoring this care home and raising concerns since it opened in 2014. More than two years later older people are living in a home that is failing to comply with minimum standards of care.
“My investigation will examine the care, treatment and experience of older people living in Dunmurry Manor Care Home from the period prior to the home’s opening in 2014 until the present day. It will also include an examination of the actions of all those responsible for the commissioning, provision, monitoring and regulation of the care services provided at the care home during this time.
“I am aware of some excellent care in nursing homes across Northern Ireland and I don’t want to cause unnecessary alarm to older people and their families. However, when I detect that there are areas of serious concern in terms of care for older people, I must act immediately and ensure that older people are protected from harm.”
The investigation is expected to take three to four months to complete. To ensure that it is as thorough and independent as possible, expert advisors in nursing care, safeguarding and human rights and the commissioning, regulation and inspection of care have been appointed. This expert panel will provide scrutiny, advice and guidance throughout the investigation. The Commissioner will not make comment during the investigation and a report into the findings with recommendations is expected to be released in June.
The Commissioner would like to hear from past and present residents, family members, volunteers and staff of Dunmurry Manor during the investigation. Please contact 028 9089 0892 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share any experience of the care home.
Responding to the Commissioner’s statement, a spokesperson for Runwood Homes, who own the facility, said they envisage that Dunmurry Manor will be fully compliant with all regulations within “a short time.”
They said: “The home was visited last week by a number of external health professionals and standards were commended within the home. Health professionals from the Health Trusts visited the home. A number of residents were reviewed and there was no faults found with the care provided.”
Meanwhile, Lisburn North Alliance Party Alderman, Stephen Martin has welcomed the Commissioner’s decision to investigate the care home.
“The local Trust has already become involved and I am confident that measures are being implemented to improve the situation so hopefully lessons can be learned,” he said.
“Any findings should be made public to restore confidence because we are dealing here with patients who are amongst the most vulnerable in our community and who are in need of specialist care. We can’t permit a situation to continue where some families have lost faith that their loved ones are being looked after to the highest standards.”