A nurse who ran a unit at a care home where inspectors found residents were at risk of malnutrition has been suspended from the profession.
Jemma Claire Eastwood, who worked as a unit manager at the Haf Unit of Stansty House Nursing Home in Rhosddu, was issued with a 12-month suspension order following a Nursing and Midwifery Council [NMC] fitness to practice hearing.
The hearing was told that Mrs Eastwood was employed as the unit manager between July and November 2017, and was employed there when a “quality audit visit” discovered concerns.
An unnamed regional manager for the Minster Care Group, which runs the home, found that charts had been incomplete, residents were not being weighed regularly, residents had lost weight and no plans were in place to prevent this weight loss, when he carried out the visit.
He also found a lack of referrals to external professionals when it was appropriate to do so, a report released after the hearing said.
According to the report, the regional manager found “no excuse for her failure to ensure basic nursing tasks were carried out, that tasks such as weighing residents weekly, were fundamental to nursing care and a lack of management support should not preclude their completion”.
On October 2017, Mrs Eastwood went on sick leave, before resigning.
An unannounced inspection carried out by Care Inspectorate Wales that same month found similar concerns, with a warning that residents were at risk of malnutrition.
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Some of the problems were found to be due to lack of continuity of agency staff and poor quality handover sheets, so that they were unaware of people’s needs.
During the fitness to practice hearing, it was found that Mrs Eastwood had failed to inform a colleague that a patient was at high risk of falls and therefore required close observation.
They also found that she failed to ensure that resident care plans were up to date and reflected the needs of the residents.
The panel also found that she did not appropriately manage the unit in that she “failed to escalate and/or ensure appropriate escalation to outside agencies” and “failed to report safeguarding concerns to the home manager”.
The panel found that she failed to ensure residents were weighed weekly, failed to ensure appropriate handover, failed to ensure staff carried out basic personal hygiene needs, failed to allocate formal breaks to staff and failed to ensure new staff were appropriate inducted.
It was also found that over two days she did not notify a colleague that a patient with Huntington’s Chorea required feeding by a nurse and not a carer.
A charge that she instructed a junior colleague to set up a syringe driver on their own when two people were required was also found proven.
A charge of failing to ensure adequate staffing was found not proved as it was concluded that this was not part of her job description.
In conclusion, the report said: “The panel found that Mrs Eastwood actions did fall seriously short of the conduct and standards expected of a nurse and amounted to misconduct.
“Her failures were wide ranging and repeated and placed vulnerable service users at a real risk of harm.”
The 12-month suspension would be reviewed by another panel after it was served, the report added.
Mrs Eastwood did not attend the hearing, and had not engaged with the NMC ahead of the hearing.
Speaking after the hearing, a spokesperson for Stansty House Care Home said: “Shortcomings in the quality of care at the home were identified by our internal systems and immediate action was taken by our regional management team to address these.
“The unit manager was dismissed and we reported the matter to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). We are pleased to see the NMC has now taken appropriate disciplinary action.
“We continue to work closely with the local authority and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) to ensure we are delivering the highest standard of care possible to all of our residents.”
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