Inspectors find ‘poor oral hygiene’ at Basildon care home

A Basildon care home has been told it requires improvement after dementia residents’ toothbrushes were kept in “poor condition in dirty bathroom cabinets”.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said Evelyn May House, in Basildon, poor oral hygiene could lead to bleeding gums, broken teeth and oral pain after an inspection.

The Runwood Homes-run home was given a rating of “requires improvement” overall and in the categories of “well-led” and “safe” after an inspection in December 2021.

The care home says residents’ safety and wellbeing is a top priority and it is confident it will return to a “good” rating after re-inspection.

A spokesman at Runwood Homes said in a statement: “The safety and wellbeing of our residents will always be our number one priority, and all feedback we receive is taken seriously, with key actions already put in place at the home.

“The service is rated Good in ‘Effective’, ‘Caring’ and ‘Well-led’ and the team at Evelyn May House have addressed the issues highlighted by CQC.

“The manager and the team at Evelyn May House continue to work incredibly hard, and we are ready for re-inspection, where we are very confident the home will return to an overall Good rating.”

Tubes of creams used for skin conditions were also left unattended and unsorted, which an inspection report said posed a risk to others of being used inappropriately.

For residents who needed turning to prevent pressure sores, the number of turns was not always recorded.

A section reads: “Staff had not supported people living with dementia with good oral hygiene care. Although care plans identified that poor oral hygiene could lead to bleeding gums, broken teeth and oral pain.

“Oral hygiene tools such as toothpaste and toothbrushes were kept in poor condition in dirty bathroom cabinets.

“In response to this the manager arranged for a system to be put in place to support oral hygiene care.”

People at the care home told inspectors they felt safe and that carers were happy to look after them.

According to the report, the new manager informed the CQC the home was working on reduced capacity, but was reducing the use of agency staff and in the process of recruiting new staff.

Inspectors received mixed feedback about staffing from relatives, residents and the staff themselves.

One person told the CQC: “When I visit, I am worried about leaving [relative] in their bedroom because I think [relative] will get forgotten.”

However, staff themselves said they felt there were enough people employed, but there would be more time to sit and talk with residents if the home employed more.

Management and leadership was inconsistent and leaders did not always support the delivery of “high-quality, person-centred care”, the report continues.

Despite this, the report says the new manager was in the process of reviewing people’s care plans at the time of the inspection and was responsive to suggestions from the CQC.

Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter