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Ashfield Care Homes Limited in Ashley Road, New Milton, placed into special measures by the Care Quality Commission after inspectors rated it as inadequate

A NEW Milton home which cares for residents with autism and learning difficulties has been ruled as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission.

Ashfield Care Homes Limited in Ashley Road, which has room for up to10 residents, was rated as requiring improvement following inspections in July and August.

The care home has been placed into special measures (picture: Google)
The care home has been placed into special measures (picture: Google)

However, a follow up inspection has now seen the facility placed into special measures to protect the residents, which means it will be kept under close review.

Issues at the home included not enough staff to meet the residents’ needs, a medicine cabinet being left unlocked and unattended on at least four occasions, as well as the home being cluttered and poorly maintained.

CQC inspectors have issued four warning notices, to focus the home’s attention on making rapid and widespread changes to improve people’s safety and ensure they are receiving person-centred care and support.

CQC’s director for people with a learning disability and autistic people, Rebecca Bauers, said: “When we inspected Ashfield Care Homes Limited we were concerned to find leaders had still not created a culture that supported the delivery of high-quality care in the service, despite us telling them to do so at previous inspections.

“Despite staff having the training, we were concerned they sometimes didn’t understand people’s needs and sensitivities which could help them provide care which was tailored to them to keep people safe and respect their human rights.

“Aspects of institutionalised practices were also in place. For example, when a person asked for a cup of coffee at 10.46 a staff member told them they would make one at 11 o'clock instead, at coffee time, which wasn’t centred on the person’s wishes.”

She added: “There were not enough staff to meet peoples’ assessed one-to-one support needs.

“We saw many instances when people were sat in the lounge with no meaningful activity or staff interaction. “Activities were often based on staff availability and were often shared experiences rather than individual preferences, such as everyone going to the pub for lunch.”

Other areas of concerns included staff being unable to reach managers out of hours to obtain permission to administer medicines.

Staff also weren’t clear on who to escalate a concern to, resulting in CQC inspectors having to contact another of the provider's care homes in order to speak to management.

Ms Bauers added: “During our second site visit, conducted in the evening, we attempted to call the on-call manager twice between 8pm and 9pm and received no response.

“We were concerned this would mean a delay in a person receiving medicines as required.

“Previously, we had raised concerns about the cleanliness, peeling surfaces and furniture which could create an infection risk.

“We found limited action had been taken to resolve this, for example the replacement of ripped easy chairs and repainting of some surfaces, but poor and unsafe infection, prevention, and control practices still remained in place.

“Many of these issues we have raised previously to the provider and it’s unacceptable that so many of these issues remain outstanding.

We won’t hesitate to take further action if we’re not assured people are receiving the standard of care they deserve.”

Head of people and engagement at Ashfield Care Homes Ltd, Karen Jarritt, said it was taking the CQC’s findings “very seriously”.

She said: “Whilst we are disappointed with the rating, management continue to work with maximum speed and effort, through an improvement plan, to ensure the highest standards of care are realised and maintained.

“The registered manager alongside the regional manager and together with the quality assurance team are making swift and steady progress.”

She added: “Staffing is a major issue within the care sector at this time.

“The management are very fortunate to have been able to deploy some excellent staff who will join the existing team in helping to move the service forward.

“Management will work with and report to the CQC on the improvements they are putting in place to ensure standards improve.”

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