Quality-of-care concerns at Wallasey care home where residents ‘idolise’ staff

Wirral Council has suspended new placements to a residential care home “due to quality-of-care concerns”.

Seabank House in Wallasey is a residential care home for up to nine people with learning disabilities.  A notice from Wirral Council said that new placements have been suspended by the local authority at the facility since December to “enable the provider the time to focus on improving the experience for its current customers with the support of Wirral Councils Contracts, Commissioning and Quality Teams.”

This move comes after the home was rated as ‘good’ following a CQC inspection in 2022.

Home bosses said they were working to address paperwork and hygiene record keeping issues raised in a recent pre-CQC assessment by the council.

Those living in the home and family members who spoke to the LDRS also praised it for being a safe, supportive environment. The care home also said it was not accepting any new placements before the suspension as this would have been against the wishes of those living in the home.

The notice of placement suspension has been listed on the council’s Infobank website after the local authority introduced a policy last year to provide greater transparency to the public about when it has concerns over any aspect of a care home and suspends services.

When the policy was introduced in 2023, Cllr Janette Williamson, chair of the council’s social care committee, said, “Quality improvement is fundamental to providing good care to our residents.

“Wirral’s Adult Care Quality and Suspension policy agreed in March this year outlines how we will review care homes, compare them with CQC reports, suspend contracts, and agree improvement plans as appropriate. As part of this policy, publishing the details of any providers that are under suspension to new placements is vital to ensuring that residents are able to make informed decisions when placing their relative in a home.”

However Helen Gifford, who set up the home, said she was working to address a backlog of paperwork and issues raised around handwashing records, but added, “Don’t say they don’t have a cracking life. It would be a shame to see it all go kaput when we have all worked really hard.”

Karen Duncalf’s sister Ann has been in the home for 20 years. She said the care home had been “absolutely brilliant” during Covid and took real care of those living at Seabank, adding, “Ann can’t speak but I know that Ann is happy and safe and she absolutely idolises the staff.”

She said, “They go to the Poulton Vics (Poulton Victoria Social Club) for Rock and Roll, they go to the pictures, they go out for meals. It’s a family house,” adding, “With Ann having dementia, she needs things to do. For the Christmas meal together, we all went out as a family. Ann absolutely idolises everybody here and I know it will destroy them. They all go on holiday together, they have just been to Center Parcs.”

One resident who spoke to the LDRS said she liked being able to get out of the house and going for pub lunches, adding, “It’s great. The food is great and I get to choose.”

Ms Gifford said she set Seabank up after working in homes where residents had no freedom, adding, “The residents didn’t have any say and we wanted it not to be like that and people that we have taken in in the past, they have had dementia and we have nursed them to the end, we do not shut people out from our family.

“We do not run this place, we get told what to do by the people who live here. I just don’t want anyone saying that the care is not given. That upset me.”

Image: Seabank House, Wallasey. Commissioned for use by the LDRS

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