Small care home owner to close, citing regulatory burden and lack of support as the main reasons
A Bristol care home owner has decided to close her home because of what she describes as ‘ridiculous bureaucracy’ and no support.
Reporting in the Bristol Post in early August, reporter Tristan Cork said Elizabeth Laycock, who has owned and managed the 10-bed Bradley House for the past 20 years, is to close the home in September.
Ms Laycock told the Bristol Post she had decided to sell up earlier this year, having become tired of having to fulfill the needs of the rules laid down by the Care Quality Commission.
The home has been inspected five times in the last three years, and each time is praised for the way it looks after its residents, how happy they are and how well the staff are treated. But the home has been marked down for what Ms Laycock says are “silly little things”.
At an inspection in March last year, the home was criticised for a number of minor details – including inspectors spotting a garden hose lying across a path – even though it was March and still too cold for residents to go outside. It was given a rating of ‘caring, but requires improvement’.
“It’s silly little things, and it’s just getting harder and harder,” said Ms Laycock. “For instance, at our last inspection we were told the way we physically keep our files was the right way. At this inspection, we were marked down because they were kept in the wrong way – something has changed, but you are not told, or helped or supported.
“Years ago it was social services that inspected homes and they would work with providers, but now it is an inspector turning up unannounced, always a different one each time, who doesn’t know you or the home, and is just ticking boxes.
“My residents are like my family. They love living here, and the staff love working here and it’s just so sad. Obviously, I have absolutely nothing against being inspected. Every home should be inspected regularly, but it is a box-ticking exercise now, whereas in the past it was about providing the best care. It’s just the unfairness of everything, it’s just absolutely ridiculous.”
When contacted by Caring Times, Ms Laycock said that it was as much the lack of support as the ever-increasing regulatory burden that had made her decide to close the home and gave the example of an elderly male resident who had recently died.
“He had no family and was wholly social services funded, and it was left entirely to me to make the funeral arrangements,” said Ms Laycock. “That’s just one of many instances where we are expected to go the extra mile, but without any help or support.
“There used to be support from the CQC and the organisations that preceded it but now they are against you, looking for things to trip you up on, even when the care residents receive is first class.”
Ms Laycock told the Bristol Post the care home industry was changing because the pressures of inspections and regulations meant it was increasingly difficult for smaller, independent care homes like hers to continue.
“When I took the decision to close, I made it my responsibility to find alternative homes for the ten residents,” she said. “I visited them individually and saw many homes in the area.
“I would only relocate my residents to homes I am happy with and there were many where the residents are known by the staff by their room numbers – they don’t even know their names – but they have the back-up from the corporate companies to tick the boxes, so pass the inspections.
“The closure of the home is not a financial matter. I’ve never been in it for the money. I’m in it to look after people properly. It’s extremely sad, but that is the way things are going.”