York House care home in Billinghay near Lincoln, has been placed in special measures following a damning report by inspectors.
The home, run by LJ Care Homes Ltd, provides accommodation and care for elderly people, including those living with dementia, and was subjected to an unannounced inspection in January.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had received concerns about the business’ infection, prevention and control measures, prompting inspectors to scrutinise the service.
York House has been rated inadequate overall and for being safe and well-led. It was previously rated good in 2018.
At the time of inspection, 16 people were living there.
Natalie Reed, CQC head of inspection for adult social care said: “When we inspected York House, we found a care home that wasn’t well-led. The management team failed to ensure systems and processes were in place for staff to provide quality, safe, person-centred care.
“Also, there wasn’t an adequate system for people to feedback on care their loved one was receiving to help the service make improvements.
“People were at risk of harm due to poor infection prevention and control practices. We found people with COVID-19 didn’t have notices on their doors and were not being regularly identified on handovers, so staff were not always aware who had COVID-19 which could have resulted in other people contracting it and becoming ill.
“PPE was not always worn, there was not a robust cleaning process in place and staff didn’t have the required knowledge to sufficiently control infection at the service.
“It was worrying that people weren’t always protected from the risk of abuse. Staff told us people had become distressed due to alleged abuse at the service, they hadn’t reported these concerns to the local authority, so they weren’t investigated.
“Some staff members told us they haven’t received any safeguarding training and didn’t feel comfortable raising safeguarding concerns to the management team due to potential repercussions, which is completely unacceptable.
“The leaders of York House now understand where further improvements must be made and have started to address our concerns. We will continue to monitor the service and if improvements are not made, we will not hesitate to take further action.”
Inspectors found the following:
- The provider failed to ensure that effective governance systems were in place
- Systems to ensure the safety and quality of the service were not effective
- People were not safeguarded from the risks of abuse
- Risks to people ‘s health, safety and welfare were not always identified or managed effectively, and care plans were not always in place
- Their approach to visiting did not always align with government guidance
- Medicines were not always managed and stored safely, and people did not always receive medicines as prescribed
- There were insufficient measures in place to reduce the risk of infection spreading
- We did not find evidence of lessons being learnt following accidents and incidents
- Staffing levels at the service put people’s safety at risk
- Despite the above concerns, people and relatives were overall positive about the safety of the service. People told us they knew to speak to staff if they needed to raise concerns
- Staff members deployed were consistent and the service only used permanent staff
- The service worked closely with the local GP surgery
- The report will be published on the CQC website on Wednesday 30 March
A spokesperson for the care home says it has been under new management since October 2021 and has made ‘amazing progress’.
A statement from York House said: “We feel the inspection was carried out from complaints it [CQC] had received and not a factual report on York House. We tried to appeal this with CQC however, never received feedback or a final report from CQC.
“We feel let down by them. The paperwork is obviously more important than the wellbeing of the present staff and residents as none of these were spoken to for their opinions.
“Staff and residents have seen the improvements made since the home has been under new management and it is certainly going forward and upwards. We have an amazing team, in fact it is more like a family run home.”
The spokesperson said relatives often received feedback during the pandemic, although conversations were not always documented, and during this time suggestion boxes had been removed due to infection control.
The care home claims it isolated all residents during a COVID-19 outbreak, with ‘barrier nursing’ methods used, and it has accused the the CQC of putting paperwork before residents’ wellbeing.
York House claims all abuse allegations are ‘false’.