"Inadequate" care home slammed by inspectors

A TOWN centre care home has been slammed for the third time in two years by inspectors, who say it is not “clean, hygienic or well-maintained”.

Even people receiving end-of-life care occupied smelly rooms on units which were not adequately staffed, they found.

Care Quality Commission inspectors visited Laureate Court in June and July, branding it “inadequate” in all five inspection categories.

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The experts reported this week that the facility is not safe, not effective, not caring, not responsive and not well-led.

They found seven breaches of care law, adding that “insufficient progress had been made” since their last visit.

In November 2014 CQC inspectors rated the home “inadequate” - a further visit last July found that it still required improvement.

The 82-bed home cares for people living with dementia and other mental health issues.

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At the time of its latest inspection, Laureate Court provided resident or nursing care to 56 service users.

Inspectors found that these people did not always get their medications as required and were not supported to eat a balanced diet, calling meal times “unorganised, chaotic and task-orientated”.

One person had lost “considerable weight”, yet they had not seen a dietician and no nutritional care plan was in place. 

In fact, inspectors found that people “were not routinely referred to healthcare professionals when required”.

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Users sometimes had to wait for assistance because “staff were not deployed properly”, inspectors reported.

They added that care plans were “confusing” and incomplete, while many of the risk assessments were not up to date or accurate.

Safe infection prevention and control procedures were not followed, they added.

Systems in place to monitor care quality “were not effective and did not always identify concerns”.

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Two of the homes’ three units had “no meaningful activities to occupy people”.

Staff would routinely use drugs to calm residents down, instead of trying to address the causes of their agitation.

There was no evidence, from records, that users’ complaints were being investigated when identified.

There were also “several occasions where there was a lack of regard for people’s dignity and respect”.

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Service users’ personal details were left in plain view in a public area for two days, inspectors noted.

Residents receiving end-of-life care in their bedrooms were not always looked after, they found.

Inspectors observed one such person calling out for help, but no staff were on the unit to assist.

Another person’s room had a “foul odour”, but no attempts were made by staff to tackle it.

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All 15 carers interviewed by the CQC said staff morale at Laureate Court was “very low”.

Several said communication was “poor”, with no management meetings or supervision sessions held.

Records showed that most staff training was done online and some was still required.

Property owners Larchwood Care Homes (North) put Laureate Court in special measures themselves, following the last CQC visit.

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Inspectors will visit again in six months - if care has not improved, enforcement action could be taken.

A spokesman for the home said: “Earlier this year a new management company became responsible for the home and has put in a wide-ranging, long-term plan, designed to tackle ongoing issues and ensure the highest standards of care are maintained.

“We meet regularly with the local authority, are working closely with it and the CQC to deliver this, and are confident that all actions required by the CQC’s report will be completed within the agreed timeframe.”

Debbie Westhead, CQC deputy chief inspector of adult social care in the North, said: “We are now taking further action to protect people and we are working closely with Rotherham Borough Council to ensure that people are safe and get the services they need.”

The full inspection report can be found at tinyurl.com/cqclaureate.

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