Elderly people were bored, bedridden and restricted by outdated Covid rules at a Scots care home with long term staff shortages that advertises itself as giving “peace of mind” to relatives.

A damning inspection of Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home raised significant concerns about the mental and physical wellbeing of residents.

The home was not following updated Covid guidance, with relatives forced to wait “to be escorted” to their family member’s room.

Postal mail and newspapers were still being quarantined for 48 hours before being distributed.

Inspectors were told by elderly people, “I’m pretty bored, there is not a lot to do” and “staff always say they are too busy and will help me later “.

Residents were experiencing care and support at a “basic level” focussed on tasks and routines, which did not treat them as individuals entitled to personalised care.

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There were concerns that the dignity of residents was being compromised, with doors left open as they were receiving personal care.

The home, which promises future recruits an “influential new career” on its website and charges self-funders between £944 and £2,089 for weekly care, was rated weak in four out of five categories by the Care Inspectorate.

The wellbeing co-ordinator post was vacant and “other staff did not have sufficient capacity to compensate for this”.

Residents had not been supported to use the garden over the summer and the home lacked the equipment to allow those with limited mobility or injuries to get out of bed, putting them at risk of pressure sores and hampering their rehabilitation.

Inspectors said: “The service was clearly under significant pressure as a result of the number vacant posts and reliance on agency staff. 

“Lack of sufficient suitable trained staff meant that people’s health and wellbeing was compromised.

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“We had serious concerns that staff appeared rushed and had no time for meaningful interaction with people.

“People did not have the right equipment in place to enable them to spend time out of their bed.

“This put their skin at risk of pressure wounds and was detrimental to their rehabilitation.”

Staff appeared “resigned to the pressure staffing levels put them under” while others were clear that they wanted to be able to deliver a better standard of care. 

Living spaces were described as “functional” rather than creating a warm, homely environment.

Inspectors said some employees appeared to lack the knowledge and skills to appropriately assist people who required support to eat and drink

They said: “It was positive to see people being offered a visual choice of meals, however during the meal, support was not provided in a way that maximised independence dignity or respect. 

“We saw people having clothes protectors put on without being asked and people who were unable to use cutlery not being offered finger food and eating with their hands.”

The report found that the home had appropriate cleaning schedules in place and appeared clean.

Balhousie Care Group has been given until October 31 to address failings identified during the inspection, which was carried out over three days in August.

A spokesperson for Balhousie Care Group said: “Our residents and their care and respect is at the heart of what we do, which is why the Care Inspectorate’s findings on a visit to our Pitlochry home were very disappointing.

"We are, however, thankful to the CI for highlighting the serious staffing challenges facing the whole of the social care and health sector right now.

“Work began immediately to address the concerns in the report and we have every faith in the Pitlochry team, which has a strong reputation for its care, that it will meet the CI’s requirements.”