Highcliffe care home hit by second sub-standard rating

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Newtown House care home was rated ‘requires improvement’ by Care Quality Commission inspectors

A HIGHCLIFFE care home has been scathingly judged as sub-standard for the second time in six months by the national care watchdog.

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Newtown House had pledged to make a number of improvements when it was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in October 2018 and was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating, but none had been implemented.

Among the numerous concerns highlighted were that a breach in regulations had not been put right, staff morale was “low” because there had not had a single meeting since, accurate records were not being maintained and nursing hours had been reduced.

Based in Waterford Road, the home is run by Highcliffe Nursing Services Ltd, a part of Quality Care Group. It provides accommodation and personal care for up to 26 older people as a single package in a contractual agreement and hosts some who have dementia.

The latest CQC visit took place over three days in late January when and there was no registered manager in post.

Inspectors highlighted how risks to people who used the service – such as the use of bed rails, restraint equipment and falls or accidents – were not always assessed or monitored and medicines administered safely.

In one incident, the CQC report said, a person received an incorrect dose and their GP and the local safeguarding team were not informed, while there was no protocol in place for another person who had complex symptoms and their medicine was prescribed “as and when”.

Since the October 2018 inspection, no audits or monitoring of the service had been carried out, while accurate records of the care and treatment people received had not been maintained.

Lessons had not always been learned when things went wrong, the report went on, because, while accidents and incidents had been recorded, they were not reviewed.

A complaints process was in place but not followed, one complaint had been received but not responded to in a timely manner, and records did not include an acknowledgement to the complainant, details of an investigation or the outcome.

The CQC inspector added: “Changes in the management structure of the home had led to reduced nursing hours, which impacted on the length of medicine rounds and keeping records up to date.

“Since the last inspection, staff had not received any supervision and no staff meetings had been held which had left staff feeling unsupported. Staff morale was low and they lacked confidence in the management and organisation.”

On a positive note, the inspector said staff were recruited safely and had inductions and ongoing training which enabled them to carry out their roles.

Pre-admission assessments captured people’s needs and choices in initial care and support plans, although those “were not always reflective of the care people were receiving”.

The CQC said people had access to healthcare when needed and their eating and drinking needs were understood and met.

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