By Alex Jones
DISTRESSING photos of a decaying care home where elderly, brain-damaged and quadriplegic residents were forced to live alongside URINE-SOAKED, FLY-RIDDLED rooms have emerged.
Shocking photos of Blenheim Care Centres, which closed its doors for good just over 12 months ago, include a damp corridor crawling with mould; stacks of resident’s private data carelessly left abandoned; and an old mattress propped up on a hospital trolley.
The grim facility was shut down in November 2018 after it was branded unsafe, ineffective and unable to support a person’s basic dignity.
The care home, which could have housed up to 80 people, was closed after it failed to make sufficient improvements following several inspections, 18 residents were moved out of the home in Hemswell Cliff, Lincolnshire, and the building has remained undisturbed until urban explorer FreakyD managed to investigate the derelict building.
“The care home feels cold and unwelcoming, clinical but not clean. Most of the rooms have now been emptied with wardrobes left bare and beds without bedding,” said FreakyD.
“The amount of personal data left dumped in piles is staggering, mountains of resident records, information about staff as well as several large boxes labelled ‘Deaths A – Z’ shows the level of respect for former residents.
“Some rooms still contain personal items spilling out of ransacked drawers such as decorative pottery, a music box and photos from cherished occasions such as wedding photos.
“The stock room also still retains a few items such as catheters and syringes.
“Despite one section of the building suffering water damage and another part of the second building having suffered localised fire damage the overall condition is still in a very salvageable stage.
“As the building has only been left abandoned for around a year everything still seems safe and solid, which makes a nice change from my usual explores.”
A damning report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), published in June 2018 just a few months before the facility was shut down, shows that residents in the home faced a number of ordeals. Blenheim Care Centres was placed into special measures after a series of ‘inadequate’ reports during 2017/18 and the final report into the property was never published due to the site’s closure.
A litany of complaints raised by the inspectorate about the standard of living in the care home include a room which “smelt strongly of urine and was full of flies”; bird feathers and seed left in a room which hadn’t been occupied for many months; a wheelchair which was only held together by a latex glove; a handyman being employed at the site with no DBS check despite the vulnerability of the residents; service users ringing their call bell but not being answered; rusty machinery which was not suitably maintained; inappropriate medicines administered which could have caused heart attacks or strokes; care workers having to use their days off to buy supplies for residents; black mould found in bathrooms; and people being left in an unkempt, untidy condition.
Other issues raised included at least one resident being left in the exact same position for 12 hours straight, drastically increasing their risk of pressure sores; inadequate risk assessments for patients liable to falling; and an inspector’s report that service users were “inappropriately offered cigarettes as a reward to drink their medicine”.
For FreakyD, the unsettling exploration had a personal connection.
“My girlfriend and I often explore together. Although a lot of places we visit are in a worse state, she works as a care worker so this investigation was very relatable,” the urban explorer stated.
“As people are living longer and longer there is a growing number of elderly people in need of care. With such a heavy strain on the hard-working care workers, resources are being stretched further than ever. The closure of this care home leaving other facilities to pick up the pieces. It’s a shame we can’t afford our most vulnerable more dignity.”