A care home facing a probe into mistreatment of residents is set to close, leaving families scrambling to find a home for their loved ones.
Relatives say they were told on Thursday that Lake View Nursing Home, on Chorley Road, Withnell, would shut, and were given 28 days to find new accommodation.
Police and Lancashire County Council have confirmed there is an investigation into the home, the subject of a damming report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last year.
Another inspection was carried out earlier this month, though the report from that visit has not yet been published.
A spokesman for Embrace, which owns the home, said five members of staff had been suspended “following feedback from the CQC”, but they refused to provide more information.
Debbie Westhead, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector for adult social care in the north, said: “We have significant concerns regarding standards of care at Lake View Nursing Home as the home is currently falling a long way short of what we expect services to provide.
“We are proposing to take enforcement action against the provider, but we are unable to provide further details at this time, pending any possibility of appeal by the provider.
“We are aware the provider intends to close the home and we are in close liaison with the provider, local authority and commissioners who will ensure that suitable arrangements are made and that residents are safely relocated at alternative placements in the area.
“In the meantime we continue to keep the situation under very close review and will take any regulatory action necessary to ensure people using the service are not at risk and that their needs are being met appropriately.”
Lake View employs 37 people and includes a specialist unit for people with mental health problems associated with dementia.
Embrace says there is a 28-day notice period, but the home will stay open until all 28 residents have found alternative care.
A spokesman said: “For some time we have been working hard to improve standards at the home. The senior management team has been working closely with the council and the CQC but we have not seen the improvements needed.
“In addition, due to an increased reliance on agency staff, we are not able to guarantee that residents will receive the standard of care they deserve beyond the short to medium term.
“For this reason we have taken the very difficult decision to close the home.
“We will be working closely with residents, family members, the CQC and the council to ensure every resident moves to a home that is best able to meet their individual care needs. “
Among those at the home are 85-year-old Anne Wilkinson. Her son, Paul, said: “We now have a desperate search to find somewhere else for her to live.
“Because of her ill health, this move will be potentially very distressing to her.”
Lake View was rapped by the CQC twice last year.
A report in July told the home it needed to make improvements in: safety and suitability of premises; assessing and monitoring the quality of service; and notification of other incidents.
The report said: “The home’s own maintenance records showed there was no hot water to the showers in six en-suite rooms since at least the beginning of 2014.
“Staff spoken with were aware of the problem but could not give an indication of when this problem would be resolved.”
Inspectors also reported at the time that there were concerns about the number of staff to care for people living in the home, there had been three changes in manager in six months and important documentation in care files had not been updated.
A police spokesman said they were contacted on January 9 with concerns for the safety of one of the residents.
They added: “We are working with our partners to establish whether it will be subject to a criminal investigation.”
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “As the local safeguarding authority, we are supporting an investigation into the alleged mistreatment of a number of residents at Lake View Nursing Home in Chorley.
“We have also put in our own staff to help run the home, alongside the existing staff, following Embrace’s decision to close Lake View within 28 days.
“Together with our colleagues from the NHS and Care Quality Commission, we have held a meeting with the residents’ families to bring them up to date and to explain the next steps.
“Every resident at Lake View now has a social worker – or, where appropriate, a health worker – and we are talking to individual residents and their families about the best options for finding suitable alternative accommodation.
“In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with our health and CQC colleagues to make sure everyone in the home remains safe and well looked after.”