I always tell people not to rely on the smell of a home as an indicator of quality. Yes an overall odor is unpleasant and a sign of something not being as it should be. However it may be passing odor, and quality of care may still be good.
That said, I visited a home in Southport on Merseyside for a client recently, and the smell at the door was in fact an indication that all was not well when one dug deeper.
Clearly the owners of the establishment hadn’t invested in the business for some time. Sadly a symptom of the financial, political and regulatory system in which care for the elderly is provided.
That’s not to exonerate the owners, who are making a profit, at the expense of the care and comfort of the residents. It’s just a hobby horse of mine about how care is provided in the private sector. Whilst there are standards in law below which the standard of care should not fall, there are no standards which cover how the care should be financed. This allows unscrupulous providers to put profit before care. The decor is an example of how excess funds available after what are seen as unavoidable costs (staffing, food) are seen as fair profit for the owners. Allowing corners to be cut.
The smell and decor alone, still did not provide the full picture of poor care though. Talking to the staff on duty, residents and relatives. It was clear that care was poor, with not enough staff for residents needs, poor nutritional care, and signs of corporate incompetence.
What do CQC think of this home? They list it as compliant, sad but true.
I have made my findings available and reported concerns to the local authority safeguarding team.
Remember that free advice is available to help you find the best care for you and your loved ones.