Mum of drowned Robbie Crofts said grief affected standards at Wallasey care home she manages
A MUM whose son drowned with his teenage girlfriend said her grief was partly to blame for a lapse in standards at the care home she runs.
Ellen Crofts’ son, Robbie, 21, died along with 17-year-old Hayley Holmes in August last year during a night-time visit to New Brighton beach.
An inquest into their deaths ended on Thursday.
Mrs Crofts manages Kingsley House care home, in Wallasey, which was criticised in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report released the following day.
Inspectors found the home, which cares for adults with mental health needs, failed to meet seven government quality standards.
Mrs Crofts told the News the stress of Robbie’s death was partly why standards slipped.
She said: “I took my eye off the ball – it was just the most horrendous year. I have just also lost my grandson, who was stillborn, and the grief has been too much.
“But the report is from inspections in December and January and we have done everything they asked to improve what went wrong.
“They came back on Thursday and said they were satisfied with the steps we have taken. It is not just me suffering from grief – Robbie worked at the home and all the staff and residents loved him.
“They are finding it tough, too. He was such a wonderful lad.
“He wanted to go to university to study psychology and was going to work at the home part-time. He was always analysing people.
“The inquest was some comfort for us. We know all we can about what happened.
“I have made mistakes at the home, but above all else it is a happy place. The residents are happy and we have turned things around.”
Inspectors’ concerns included carpeted areas which were “stained excessively” and a strong smell throughout the property.
They said there was a “poor standard of hygiene and cleanliness” which put residents at risk.
Medical records were inaccurate, it was not clear whether medicines had been given to patients, and staff were not trained properly, according to the report.
CQC regional director Debbie Westhead said: “The failings at Kingsley House are a real concern and improvements need to be made. Staff training should be made available as a priority.
“We will return to check improvements were made.”
Councillor Jeff Green, leader of Wirral Council said: “The CQC has, once again, exposed failings in the way in which vulnerable adults in Wirral have been cared for.
“This is an upsetting and distressing time for the families of the people living at this home and I want answers.
“I have asked the council’s director of Adult Social Services why it took an inspection by the Care Quality Commission for these issues to be uncovered.
“Each person who has been placed there by the council will have had a care plan in place and each plan should have been frequently monitored.
“ If we find concerns were raised by social workers with senior council managers, I will want to know why nothing was done.”
Wirral Council’s new director of Adult Social Services, Graham Hodkinson added: “Poor standards of care are not acceptable.
“The council has a critical role in improving standards across all services and we will be working closely with the CQC and the provider to ensure that significant improvements are made quickly.”