A major probe into a virus-hit care home is underway as health chiefs fear residents could be at risk of serious harm.
Braemount Care Home – where almost two thirds of all residents contracted Covid-19 – has been made the subject of a Large Scale Investigation (LSI) .
And Paisley Southeast councillor Eddie Devine has demanded it is taken into state care.
But owner Advinia Health insists staff are addressing problems at the Paisley home, which was found not to be meeting the needs of its 85 residents during a November inspection.
The LSI has been launched by Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership just weeks after the Care Inspectorate found serious problems with cleanliness, infection control and people’s well-being at the Glenburn facility.
It was graded ‘weak’ in a damning report shared with the HSCP and Scottish Government.
Now, bosses at the partnership say they are using specialist legislation to probe the care being offered to residents across three units – Espadair and Linnwell houses, which provide nursing care and support, and Nethercraigs which specialises in dementia care.
A spokesman said: “The purpose of the LSI is to determine if any of the residents are adults at risk of harm, as per the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 and take steps to mitigate risk to secure residents’ safety and well-being.
“Any contingency plan will aim to minimise the impact of disruptive events on Braemount residents.
“At all times the welfare of residents is the most important and critical factor and any response will be consistent and proportionate to the risk identified.”
If adults are found to be at risk, the Care Inspectorate can cancel the registration of the care service, while the Scottish Government has new powers – created following the outbreak of the pandemic – that allow ministers to seek an emergency order from the courts to temporarily intervene and manage the services provided in a care home.
Councillor Devine, whose mother was a resident of Braemount Care Home before her death several years ago, said these steps should have been taken in November when the “gravity” of the problems at Braemount became apparent.
“The failings were clearly highlighted in the Care Inspectorate report,” he said. “I can’t understand why the Care Inspectorate didn’t order for it to be taken over.
“There are 16 people dead and 55 out of 85 residents had covid, what more do you need for these people to be jolted into action?
“These are human beings, people’s mums, dads, grandparents, people’s loved ones.”
He added: “It was clearly understaffed and the staff that were there were working all sorts of hours, trying their best.
“To say I am disappointed in what has happened is an understatement and I will be looking at the outcome of this investigation very carefully.”
A spokesman for Advinia Health said: “The safety and well-being of our residents is our highest priority, and we will continue to cooperate fully with this Large Scale Investigation over the coming period.
“The most recent inspection of the home by the Care Inspectorate evidenced that significant improvements had already been made at Braemount, both in terms of infection control protocols and staff training regarding the optimal use of PPE.
“Our dedicated and compassionate care teams have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to provide quality care for the residents, and they will continue to do so in the months ahead.
“The home now has new leadership, and we are making good progress with our plans to invest further in the home.
“We continue to work closely with our partners in the local HSCP, Health Protection Scotland and the Care Inspectorate.”
Renfrewshire HSCP has attempted to contact all residents’ families to notify them that the investigation is underway and will, as part of the probe, be offered the opportunity to share their own experiences and any concerns they may have.
Residents, relatives and carers will be also be offered independent advocacy services to support them in doing this and carers have also been encouraged to contact Renfrewshire Carers Centre for additional
No time frame has been set for the investigation to be completed.