Commissioner’s probe into care home coming to an end

Dunmurry Manor on the Outskirts of Belfast. 'Photo by Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker Press
Dunmurry Manor on the Outskirts of Belfast. 'Photo by Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker Press

An investigation prompted by “serious concerns” over care standards and the safety of residents with dementia at a care home in Dunmurry is moving to its final stages.

The investigation was announced in February last year by the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland after “family members and former employees” raised concerns about Dunmurry Manor Care Home.

The home opened in 2014 and has since been subject to a series of notifications by care home regulators, as well as health trusts, about what the commission described as “inadequate standards of care”.

In October 2016 the home was issued with three Failure to Comply notices by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA).

At the end of January 2017 compliance had still not been achieved and the home was formally closed to new admissions with further conditions for its ongoing operation applied.

Conditions of registration on the home have since been lifted by the RQIA.

A spokesman for the regulatory body said: “In July 2017, we lifted the conditions of registration placed on this service — only when we were satisfied that it had achieved full compliance with regulations and standards. This improvement has been sustained, primarily due to the appointment and retention of a permanent manager at the home.”

The commissioner, Mr Eddie Lynch, has informed residents and families in a letter that he has “moved to the last stage of his investigation and is in the process of drafting his investigation report”.

The investigation findings are due to be published by “mid-June”, the letter states.

When he announced the opening of the investigation in February last year, Mr Lynch said: “I am deeply concerned about allegations of serious failures of care.”

The facility is run by a firm known as Runwood Homes Ltd, who until recently operated 11 homes in Northern Ireland.

However, in August last year the RQIA moved to shut down one of its homes — Ashbrooke Care Home in Enniskillen — after deciding there was “risk to the life” of those living there. It was the first time such action has ever been taken at any care home in Northern Ireland.

A ban on new admissions to another home operated by Runwood, Glenabbey Manor in Glengormley, has been lifted. New admissions were halted by the RQIA following an inspection in February, but after a more recent inspection the RQIA found standards had improved.