Older People's Commissioner to probe Dunmurry care home

The family of a west Belfast pensioner has welcomed a new investigation into the care of elderly patients at a nursing home.

The commissioner for older people has used his legal powers to examine allegations of serious failures at Dunmurry Manor Care Home.

Julieann McNally told UTV she has questions over her grandmother's care during her time at the home.

Annie, who was 89, suffered from Alzheimers and was placed in the home in January last year.

In June she was taken to hospital. Her family claim they weren't told much later that she had suffered a fall.

Because of what happened Annie didn't go back to the home - instead her family decided to cared for her themselves.

Julieann McNally said: "On the night she died I was with her to her very last minute, we all were, and I promised her and I promised my mummy we will get answers."

Dunmurry Manor is a 76-bed care home on the outskirts of Belfast for the elderly which includes residents with dementia.

Family members have raised serious concerns about the care their relatives have received in the home with Commissioner Eddie Lynch.

“I have also heard from former employees that the care and protection of older people in the home was below acceptable standards and in some cases, caused harm to frail older people,” Mr Lynch said.

Since opening in 2014, the care home has received a number of notifications from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) and the Health and Social Care Trusts about inadequate standards of care.

At the end of January, compliance had still not been achieved and the home is now formally closed to new admissions.

In addition, further conditions for its ongoing operation have been applied.

The commissioner continued: “Health authorities have been monitoring this care home and raising concerns since it opened in 2014. More than two years later older people are living in a home that is failing to comply with minimum standards of care.”

“My investigation will examine the care, treatment and experience of older people living in Dunmurry Manor Care Home from the period prior to the home’s opening in 2014 until the present day,” Mr Lynch explained.

“It will also include an examination of the actions of all those responsible for the commissioning, provision, monitoring and regulation of the care services provided at the care home during this time.”

An expert panel has been appointed and an investigation is expected to take three to four months to complete.

The Commissioner will report into the findings with recommendations is expected to be released in June.

Responding to the announcement by the Commissioner for Older People, the regional operations director John Rafferty at Runwood Homes, which owns Dunmurry Manor, said the company’s representatives “have fully engaged with RQIA and have shared plans for implementing a model of best practice” at the home.

“Our residents are our first concern and we will ensure that they receive safe and effective care. We will continue to work with local Health Trusts in a collaborative and partnership manner,” he said.

“We envisage that in a short time Dunmurry Manor will be fully compliant with all regulations and will contribute to the provision of an excellent care service to the local community.

“The home was visited last week from a number of external health professionals and standards were commended within the home.”

  • The Commissioner would like to hear from past and present residents, family members, volunteers and staff of Dunmurry Manor during the investigation. Please contact 028 9089 0892 or email info@copni.org if you would like to share any experience of the care home.