Nurse ‘used Google Translate to get by on shift’ in Welsh nursing home

A nurse with ‘little understanding’ of English relied on Google Translate while working at a nursing home in Wales, inspectors found.

A nurse with ‘little understanding’ of English relied on Google Translate while working at a nursing home in Wales, inspectors found.

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Concerns were raised about the poor English and Welsh language skills of two out of 11 nurses working at the Penrhos Polish Nursing and Residential Home in Pwllheli, North Wales.

One nurse had very little understanding of spoken and written English, inspectors from the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) found.

The home was issued with a non-compliance notice for being in breach of the Care Standards Act 2000 following unannounced inspections in November and December last year.

‘We were told by two care staff that one nurse has very little understanding of English and no Welsh language skills. The nurse uses Google Translate to get by on a shift. The care staff informed us this has caused difficulties, especially when there has been a need to call emergency services or out-of-hours doctors,’ the inspectors said.

They said the nurse’s written notes were ‘disjointed’ and concluded: ‘This places people who use the service at risk of harm as people do not always receive the appropriate care.’


General manager Michal Drewenski told Nursing Standard the nurse who used Google Translate left in December, after it was decided language barriers were affecting care.

He said the problem occurred when the nurse worked night shifts as the only nurse, but she had been moved to supervised day shifts before leaving.

Mr Drewenski said the home had employed the two nurses through a Polish agency after struggling to recruit from within the UK. Both were already registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

In January 2016, the NMC brought in academic English tests called IELTs to improve the standard of English held by European Union nurses.

The CSSIW identified eight non-compliance issues and nine recommended areas to improve at the Penrhos.

Mr Drewenski has set a two-month period to rectify concerns and said he was arranging to meet or write to relatives of residents.

Inspectors said people at the home for second world war Polish veterans and local residents, ‘cannot always be assured that they will be protected from harm’.

Dementia care

Training was found to be lacking in key areas, such as food hygiene, first aid, infection control, and moving and handling, while ‘few staff had received dementia care training’.

The home was praised for being ‘warm, clean and tidy’, and staff for being ‘friendly, caring and having good relationships with people’.

However, fluid balance charts were often ‘incomplete and contained large gaps’ leading to concerns that residents were dehydrated.

Inspectors also found one person had lost 10kg in weight in just a few months, yet there was no evidence of referral to a dietician.

Read the report here

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