‘Dirty’ care home to close after being slammed by inspectors

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Integra Care Homes
The Integra Care Homes site at Totton was branded “inadequate” by the national care watchdog

A RESIDENTIAL care home for people with learning difficulties is closing after an inspection report condemned it as dirty and badly run.

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) discovered “significant shortcomings” by Integra Care Homes Ltd at the premises at 105 Water Lane, Totton, and gave it the lowest rating of ‘inadequate’.

A catalogue of faults were flagged by the CQC including unclean surroundings, lack of staff and skills, and ineffective leadership.

Residents’ meals sometimes consisted of just toast or chocolate, the inspectors noted, while workers even walked through one resident’s room to go into the garden for smoking breaks.

The grading marks quite a fall for the residential care home which in December 2018 was rated ‘good’.

The home is part of care firm the Lifeways Group which, in a statement to the A&T, admitted to having concerns about standards prior to the CQC inspection – and confirmed it would close in November.

It said: “The wellbeing of every individual at Water Lane remains our priority and we are working with the local authority and clinical commissioning group to find suitable alternative accommodation for the four people living there.”

At the time of the unannounced inspection it was inhabited by four people, some of whom had “complex needs”, the CQC inspectors’ report said.

Not long before their visit in September there had been a break-in at the home and money taken from the safe. The incident was being investigated by police and some of the cash taken belonged to residents, the report noted.

The CQC said there were “inadequate numbers” of permanent staff with the right skills and experience, and the home was reliant on agency workers. Fire alarm tests were not up to date and people did not have regular evacuations.

The home was dirty and in need of redecoration, bedrooms were not personalised and people not supported to eat a balanced diet. There were also few “meaningful” activities and access to the community for people, increasing their risk of social isolation.

“We looked at one person’s nutrition records which showed most meals consisted of toast or burgers and chips,” the report said. “For another person chocolate was often consumed for a lunchtime meal.”

In one en suite shower room there were cracks in the hand basin, while an activity hut in the garden had a splintered hand rail and a rusty nail sticking out.

The high numbers of agency staff meant they were not insured to drive the house car, so residents had to stay in the home most of the time. When activities were offered they consisted mainly of “going out to fast food outlets, for a walk or a drive”.

Documents outlining their activities that day showed one person watched a DVD and another just had “indoors” written in their record.

The CQC report said staff had used one resident’s room as a “thoroughfare” to access the garden for smoke breaks, adding: “This showed no respect for the person and at times staff didn’t even knock on their door to get permission before entering.”

The report further noted relatives were unhappy with the way staff treated people, complaining they did not often iron their clothes, and there was a complaint one always looked “unkempt”.

Medicines were not always safe, and people did not have pain relief available to them when needed. In one instance inspectors checked a patient’s medication and found 40 tablets in a box supposed to contain 30 – and the expiry date on the box did not match the blister packs inside.

Staff did not receive regular support or one to one sessions or supervision to discuss areas of development or enable them to carry out their roles effectively and staff training had fallen behind.

CQC inspectors found “a lack of effective management and leadership” in the home. Staff felt “unsupported” and “let down” by management and morale among them was “low”.

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