Investigation into abuse at Levanto Care Home in Paignton

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Gary Walker, a specialist lawyer experienced in supporting vulnerable adults who have suffered abuse in residential hospitals, comments on the CQC Investigation Report of Levanto Care Home Chertsey, Surrey. 

On 15 July 2022 the CQC (Care Quality Commission) published an Inspection Report of Levanto Care Home, Paignton, South Devon.

Levanto Residential Care Home is a residential care home for elderly residents suffering with dementia. Investigators from the CQC carried out an unannounced visit on 9 June 2022 where they identified many concerning issues and decided to place the home in Special Measures.

Following the inspection, the CQC raised safeguarding concerns with the local authority and also shared their concerns with police. Further investigations are ongoing.

The CQC report states: “CQC guidance on closed cultures and the impact they have on peoples’ human rights identifies 33 warning signs of a closed culture. 21 of these warning signs were evident at Levanto. For example, staff not understanding or speaking warmly about the people they were caring for, care plans not reflecting peoples’ voice, people being restricted from moving around freely and staff not receiving training that enables them to meet the needs of and effectively safeguard people”.

The investigator stated that they “observed people to be bored, disinterested and to have little interaction with staff. We asked one person if they liked living at the service, they said, “not really, I’m left on my own most of the time’.”

Other concerns highlighted by inspectors included:

  • People were put at risk of harm as risks were not well assessed, monitored or managed
  • There was no evidence any action had been taken in relation to peoples’ weight loss, which put them at risk of malnutrition
  • Medicines were not always stored securely or administered in line with best practice
  • Staff had not completed any training in relation to Covid-19
  • Staff did not have the training and skills to support people safely and meet their needs
  • People were not given a choice of food at mealtimes and staff made decisions for them
  • People were not supported to have regular baths or showers and there were no systems in place to monitor oral healthcare
  • There were no systems in place to identify, record or respond to complaints, and complaints were not investigated

The report mentioned that several staff members had raised concerns about abusive and neglectful practice with the care home manager. Unfortunately, the manager failed to effectively investigate these concerns, and dismissed them as ‘staff falling out’, despite some of the concerns alleging physical and emotional abuse. Staff raised concerns verbally, in writing, and by whistleblowing to the CQC.

Our team have previously supported vulnerable adults and their families in claims regarding abuse at Winterbourne View, Clinton House, Mendip House and Whorlton Hall. I recognise that the vulnerable adults and their families will want answers and hope that the investigation will give them some recognition of what they have experienced. It is also important that the investigation identifies lessons that can be learnt and offer reassurance that other vulnerable adults will not have to suffer abuse and degrading treatment.

If you have a loved one affected by the issues identified by the CQC in this or any other care setting get in touch with me or any other member of our team who will have a free confidential discussion with you about ways we can help them.

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