A CHESHAM care home has been placed in special measures after inspectors found ‘people were not protected from abuse’.
The residential care home, in Chartridge Lane, provides care for six people with learning disabilities, autism and a mental health condition.
The Care Quality Commission’s inspection in April found the main shortcomings were in safety and leadership, which were found to be ‘inadequate’.
Service efficiency, friendliness and responsiveness were rated as “needs improvement”, just above the lowest rating of “insufficient”.
This meant that overall the service – owned by Centurion Health Care Limited – proved to be inadequate.
The inspector said: ‘The service was unable to demonstrate how it lived up to the underlying principles of good support, good care, good culture.
“People were not protected against abuse.”
Following previous inspections over the years, rating the Chartridge Lane site as ‘needing improvement’, the supplier drew up an action plan to show how it would improve. Since no improvement has been seen, the care home has been put into ‘special measures’, which means that if no improvement is made within the next six months, the regulator ‘will begin the process to prevent the provider to operate this service”.
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The regulator raised concerns about night staffing levels and the risk of fire after an assessment found safety arrangements did not meet legal requirements.
While one in six residents needed two people to evacuate, only one staff member was on duty overnight, and sometimes these were agency workers who may not have received help. initiation or training in evacuation in case of fire.
One person was at ‘risk of dehydration which could affect their health’, and one person lost significant weight due to lack of record keeping and failure to use existing records to give people support what they needed.
Lack of record keeping and training meant a person was at risk of choking, according to the inspection report.
A member of staff said in the report: ‘Recently I witnessed something that I thought was negligence and reported it to the manager.
The service breached the Social Welfare Act, as incidents occurred without investigation or referral to the relevant bodies – which is required by law.
The nursing home had not carried out medication audits in the past three months, and inspectors were unsure that staff had received training to “ensure safe administration of medication”.
Medications were stored securely.
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The inspection found there were “significant” deficiencies in leadership, including failure to notify the regulator of events where someone was at risk of being harmed or neglected, and the service risked to have a “closed culture” – that is, “a bad culture that can lead to harm, including human rights violations such as abuse.
A spokesperson for the service said: “While we are disappointed with the findings of the CQC report, we are working closely with our regulatory agencies to make the necessary improvements to the service.
“As a business, we remain committed to providing a good standard of care to our customers and have appointed a care consultancy to help us make any necessary improvements to the service.”