Following a recent inspection of the Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home, inspectors reported issues regarding the mental health and wellbeing of residents. The report raises concerns about the details of individual care plans, residents’ complaints about being ‘bored’, and the inability to access the communal areas of the care home and the gardens during the summer months. The inspectors found that 4 out of 5 of the inspection areas were ‘weak’.
The report states:
“People should expect to experience compassion, dignity, and respect. We had serious concerns that staff appeared rushed and had no time for meaningful interactions with people (i.e. residents).
“People were not supported in having freedom of movement. We heard that people had not been supported to use the garden over the summer.
“People do not have the right equipment in place to enable them to spend time out of their bed. This puts their skin at risk of pressure wounds and was detrimental to their rehabilitation.’’
The Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home is short of staff. A recent advert on their website offers a salary of £10.50 per hour with “a £1000 Golden Hello joining incentive for a limited time.” The Balhousie Group is Scotland’s largest care provider, with 25 homes, over 900 residents and 1500 staff. The care home in Pitlochry is situated in a rural location. Anyone interested in taking up such a post will need their own transport to travel to and from the care home and work the shift pattern that is essential to providers of round the clock care.
The issue in Pitlochry is that there is very little affordable housing for anyone moving into the area to take up such a position. This restricts the pool of people who may potentially join the workforce. The post comes with a 45p per mile travel allowance over 10 miles to the care home. This indicates that the Balhousie Care Group is recruiting outside the town of Pitlochry, a situation that makes it more difficult for care managers to always ensure adequate levels of staff in the care home.
Care home fees have recently risen from £4,800 per month to £5,200 for residents who are self-funding. Government-funded residents contribute £4,400 per month. This means that self-funding residents get through their savings more quickly and then drop to the Government’s fee, causing a reduction in income for the care providers. This puts pressure on the care providers, who have to do more with less income. A vicious circle.
Relatives of residents have been invited to a meeting at the care home on Thursday 29 September. When BylinesScotland approached Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home, Gillian Drummond, the Brand and Communications manager, replied,
“Thank you for your interview enquiry. It’s a no, sorry.
We await the outcome of the meeting.