Families in defence of St Ives' Cornwallis Care Home
FAMILIES of residents at St Ives' Cornwallis Care Home – which cares for elderly people with dementia – have rallied to its support after it was criticised by a watchdog report.
Last week's The Cornishman highlighted a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report that said the home was failing to respect residents' dignity and privacy. But family members have said that staff at the home treat their loved ones as human beings despite having a hugely tough job to do.
Brin Berriman, former vicar of the three Land's End parishes of St Buryan, St Levan and Sennen, said the staff at Cornwallis treat both his 85-year-old mother – and his father who visits her every day – with compassion and dignity.
A number of relatives said that the home has suffered because of the case of former carer Fiona Salmon, who was jailed in May for abusing residents when she worked there in 2011 and 2012.
A Ludgvan man, who asked us to withhold his name to protect his dementia-suffering father's dignity, said: "They are not bullied at Cornwallis, and if Dad does not want to get up in the morning, he is allowed to stay in bed; they will try again later, it is not important.
"The staff are not there to herd and regiment those they are caring for. Dad has been there a little over two years.
"We have been able to visit at any time of the day or evening, I have never seen any cruelty or neglect, we have always found the staff most helpful."
He said it felt like the report was written by people who didn't understand the difficulties of caring for people with dementia.
Brin Berriman agreed. He said: "My mother has very advanced dementia, she is very, very difficult to handle.
"She has been through about five homes, each of which she has had to move on from because her needs were beyond their capacity to deal with.
"She has been at Cornwallis for eight months and the staff are stable, there are lots of mature carers who have worked there a long time. They are very caring and they spend a lot of time with the patients.
"We're very, very impressed and pleased with the care staff. They are friendly, caring and compassionate. They are working with people who are very difficult but they never lose their temper.
"There are issues that need tightening up, like record-keeping around drug administration but the staff treat the residents like human beings who have a worth, not objects to be managed. They use common sense and they care, and that is worth far more."
Scott Hulin, manager of the home in Trewidden Road, said he had been contacted by a number of families with messages of support.
Last week he said: "A number of families, who regularly spend six or seven hours every day at Cornwallis, vehemently disagree with the reporting and have complained to ... the CQC."
A spokesman for the Care Quality Commission said: "We do, and we did, give the care provider the opportunity to comment on the report before it was published."