Pledge to help struggling care homes as managers leave

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Care homes who lose their managers are at greater risk of deteriorating quickly, it has been suggested.

Health chiefs in Wakefield have expressed concern at the number of care homes which have seen a drop in standards this year.

A total of three homes in the district have been placed in special measures since the start of May.

One of those, Attlee Court in Normanton, had been given a good rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) less than two years earlier.

At a meeting of Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on Tuesday, the council’s director of public health Anna Hartley said that the local authority was trying help under fire care homes.

She said: “Things can deteriorate if there’s a significant change in the care home, if a manager leaves for example.

“We’ve entered a process where if the manager leaves we (the council) will visit the home straight away to try and support them.

“We’ve been quite reactive so far. I think we could be more pro-active in picking up some of the red flags that might indicate there’s a problem. It’s about making sure you go in at the right time.”

Mrs Hartley said that the council was trying to improve access to training for people who wanted to become care home workers to make it a “more attractive” job.

She added that the industry was a “Cindarella area of employment”, suggesting it needed more attention.

Others suggested that financial pressures could be to blame for the troubles of struggling homes.

CCG chair Dr Phillip Earnshaw said he had sympathy for managers.

He said: “For some of the providers it must be very frustrating because they’re dealing with shifting sands.

“One day they’re caring for somebody and then they’re not there the next, so it changes so quickly.

“It’s quite a chaotic picture and not good for anyone.

“These are very vulnerable people (in care homes). We need to think about how we use our resources to help them as best we can.”