A care home in the Scottish Highlands where elderly residents were said to be 'bored, lonely and frustrated' has been banned from new admissions following a damning report.

A large-scale investigation found residents were suffering emotional distress and physical harm at Southside Nursing Home in Inverness.

One adult suffered a broken wrist while unsupervised in a communal area, there were concerns about another's significant weight loss and residents affected by dementia were able to leave the home on more than one occasion.

Government regulators said the way in which the service was being managed had significantly deteriorated since the previous inspection.

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One employee admitted that residents had suffered falls because there wasn't enough staff to monitor them and said they were unable to ensure they were eating properly.

There was evidence residents had been placed in "environmental restraint" with no safeguards to ensure it was safe and in their best interest.

Not all accidents and incidents were reviewed by the home or escalated to social work teams or other health professionals.

"This meant the service was unable to learn from these situations and potentially prevent them from happening again", the report said.

HeraldScotland:

"We saw people in the conservatory sit in silence, bored and uninterested in the TV. Staff rushed in and out of the area but did not take time to talk with people or support those who needed assistance to eat and drink. 

"Staff told us that they did not have enough time to meet people's needs and expressed concern that this had caused harm."

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Staff expressed concern that they were not listened to by management when they raised concerns about shortages.

The care home was rated unsatisfactory - the lowest rating - for staffing, leadership and supporting the wellbeing of residents and infection control was described as adequate.

While the home had re-opened to visiting not everyone had been supported to have visits within the privacy of their own room. 

One family told inspectors: "My relative tried to bring us in to show us their room but the owner/manager met us at the door and would not let us in even though we take the test faithfully each week, have had the two injections, as has my relative, but we are still not getting into the home."

The Care Inspectorate has imposed an emergency condition on the service's registration to prevent new admissions and the home has been given until September 1 to make urgent improvements.

While weight was monitored, it was not obvious what steps were taken when weight loss was identified. One person's records demonstrated that they had lost a significant amount of weight.

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Some residents had received "covert medication" to support their health and wellbeing.
However, it was not clear in records if this was in their best interests.

An entry in one person's care plan stated they had become, "isolated, lonely and frustrated due to increased time spent in their room."

The report found there had been a number of managers and deputy managers appointed within the past 12 months which had contributed to instability  reduced the service's capacity to sustain improvements. 

A spokesman for Southside Care Home said it was working with the Care Inspectorate, the NHS and our own staff to address issues raised, adding: “We are deeply disappointed in our recent Care Inspectorate report, which does not reflect the high standards of service we work hard to provide to all our residents.”

NHS Highland said it was working with Highland Council and the owners of the home to support their improvement actions and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents.