Praise for care at Isles’ Church-run home despite staffing crisis

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A Harris care home at the centre of concerns over care staff shortages in the islands and the cost of its reliance on agency staff, has been praised by the Care Inspectorate for the high level of service it provides to residents.

Leverburgh Care Home, which is operated by the Free Presbyterian Church, has received financial assistance from the Integrated Joint Board (IJB) for health and social care as the costs of the Home’s agency staffing mounted in the face of unfilled vacancies.

But this week, The Care Inspectorate, in a report on an inspection of the home conducted at the end of November, highlighted that, while the shortage of staff ‘had led to the decision at times not to admit new residents to the home’, the manager, depute and senior staff at the home had worked in a ‘flexible way’ to ensure the levels of care and safety of residents.

The report stated: ‘We concluded that this was evidence of responsive leadership within the service which clearly prioritized safe working practices at all times. Care staff have obviously worked cooperatively to maintain safe staffing numbers’.

The Care Inspectorate report found that the Home: ‘continued to demonstrate major strengths in supporting each person’s wellbeing in a manner that promoted good individual outcomes. People who used the service told us about living in a care home where they were happy, and where staff were kind and caring’.

Inspectors stated: ‘Interactions between staff and residents were good, and we observed people responding to these, enjoying the conversations and activity, within an environment that was comfortable and homely’.

In December, the financial support provided by the IJB to the Home was described by the Chief Officer of the IJB, Dr Ron Culley, as being ’appropriate in the circumstances’, and, in response to concerns raised by local councillor, John Mitchell in a Comhairle Housing Committee meeting, over the ‘financial stability’ of the home, Dr Culley warned that the staffing problem ‘wasn’t solved’, and that ‘some thought had been given to contingencies. It’s a work-in-progress’.

In response to The Care Inspectorate report, Dr Culley said: “We continue to work with Leverburgh Care Home and we were very pleased to hear about the positive inspection. We continue to discuss the funding arrangements with the care home and look forward to working productively with them in 2019 and beyond.”