Condemned nursing home praised for ‘dignified care’

Damning official reports on a nursing home branded “one of the worst in Northern Ireland” bear no resemblance to reality at the Co Tyrone care facility, the brother of one resident has claimed.

By Mark Rainey
Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 5:54 pm
Valley Nursing Home
Valley Nursing Home

Gerry Cullen, whose brother Donal has been a patient at Valley Nursing and Care Home in Clogher for five years, said he has never experienced or suspected “poor care or patients being treated with a lack of dignity or respect”.

Mr Cullen was commenting after the body regulating nursing and care homes in Northern Ireland reported “continued serious concerns impacting directly on the care of patients,” at Valley.

On December 27, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) issued a notice of proposal to cancel the home’s registration.

Earlier this week, RQIA chief executive Olive MacLeod said the home had not sustained previous improvements.

“We have inspected it on 10 occasions. We have met with the provider, the person who owns this home, and we are not seeing any sustained improvement. If fact, we have seen a deterioration.

“This is one of the worst we have seen in Northern Ireland,” she told the BBC.

However, Mr Cullen said that his brother, who has complex needs including dementia and mobility issues, has always received “dignified and excellent” care at the facility which has 76 patients and residents.

“We do not recognise the home as portrayed by Olive MacLeod. That to me is outrageous,” Mr Cullen said.

“Donal’s quality of life today, his physical health, is testament to the excellent care he has received.

“In the hundreds of times I’ve been in the Valley Nursing Home, I have never suspected poor care or patients being treated with a lack of dignity or respect.”

Mr Cullen said his family now has grave concerns that Donal will struggle to have his needs met at another home.

“Our family will be making representation to the department of health, asking them to get actively involved.

“When the sensationalism of this dies down, care is still going to have to be provided to the patients in that home. Everybody has to work together to get this matter resolved.”

He added: “The Cullen family is totally supportive of the home – totally supportive of the nursing and the care staff. My brother’s good health today is testament to the dignity and care that he has received in the [Valley] home.”

A spokesman for the RQIA said that “continued failures at Valley Nursing Home” resulted in the issue of the decision to propose the cancellation of the home’s licence to operate.

“This followed enforcement action by RQIA in July relating to a range of concerns including management arrangements and issues affecting the health and welfare of those living at Valley Nursing Home,” he said.

“Whilst compliance was achieved with these issues, this improvement has not been sustained. During further inspections including a detailed inspection on 16-17 December RQIA identified continued serious concerns impacting directly on the care of patients at this home, which resulted in this action.”

The spokesman added: “RQIA is working closely with the Southern and Western health and social care trusts who are supporting everyone who lives at the Valley Nursing Home and their families.

“During this time RQIA will continue to monitor this service closely to ensure the safety and wellbeing of every patient living at the Valley Nursing Home.”

The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) has said they are aware of the closure proposal.

“The Board is working closely with colleagues in the Health and Social Care Trusts and the RQIA to ensure that there is regional and local coordination in managing this process.”

A spokeswoman for the HSCB added: “The continued well-being of those who live in the Valley Care home will be the priority should any future move to alternative care arrangements be needed. The Board recognises that this is an unsettling time for those that live at the Valley and will work with them and their families to support them over the coming weeks and months.

“The HSCB is committed to ensuring that there is clear, regular communication with those that live at the Valley Nursing Home and their families to address any concerns which they may have.”