October 26, 2023 7.00 am

“Unsafe, undignifed, unacceptable”: Special measures for Gainsborough care home

Strong words of criticism from the CQC, but Drovers Call says it’s an unfair reflection

By Local Democracy Reporter

The Care Quality Commission has deemed a care home in Gainsborough as ‘inadequate’ and placed it in special measures, citing issues around safeguarding, leadership and risk management. The care provider, however, doesn’t totally agree.

Drovers Call on Lea Road in Gainsborough is a care home providing accommodation for older people, some of which are living with dementia, and it was the subject of an inspection from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on September 4, 6 and 19, 2023.

At the time of the inspection, 56 people were living at the care home, and the CQC were notified of concerns around the use of restrictive practices, prompting this investigation.

The service had previously been rated as ‘requires improvement’ by the CQC, but the latest findings saw things take a turn for the worse, prompting inspectors to place the care home in special measures with a rating of ‘inadequate’ overall.

Drovers Call was considered inadequate in the categories of safety, effectiveness and leadership, and requires improvement for levels of care and responsiveness.

The care provider for this home, Knights Care Limited, says the report came as a shock to them, and they believe it “does not truly reflect the service and all the positive outcomes” at the care home.

Amanda Lyndon, CQC deputy director of operations in the Midlands, said: “When we inspected Drovers Call, we were disappointed to find a deterioration in the standard of care people were receiving. The lack of oversight from the provider and registered manager had led to a decline in the safety and quality of care people were receiving.

“There were signs of a closed culture where restraint was overly used. For example, a person was regularly restrained by two staff, while a third provided personal care. This restraint wasn’t included in their care plan to show this was necessary.

“Another record showed a person was let free because they promised to calm down. Treating people this way is totally unacceptable and people living at Drovers Call should be treated with more dignity and respect.

“Additionally, medication was being used more than it should have been to manage people’s distressed behaviours, this also wasn’t included in care plans. For example, a person was restrained a total of 11 times in one month, and there was no record of why this medication was given to deal with this situation.”

In response to the CQC’s report, a spokesperson for Knights Care Limited said: “We are devastated with the latest CQC report, and it has come as a shock to us. On reflection, we accept the home needed to be much stronger in care planning, risk assessment and compliance evidencing.

“However, in our opinion, the report does not truly reflect the service and all the positive outcomes we have at Drovers Call.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with our regulators, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) along with wider commissioners and stakeholders to make sure Drovers Call is the best it can be and provide a caring and safe environment for all our residents.”

According to inspectors, the service failed to protect people from poor levels of care and abuse, failing to identify and report incidents with patients, and also failing to always act in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act.

Concerns of inconsistent care levels were voiced as a result of insufficient staffing levels, while many staff members on shift were recruited from an agency.

Inspectors concluded that ineffective planning resulted in sustained periods of distress for patients, which saw an increase in hospital admissions from the care home and a spike in restrictive practice reports.

The CQC went on to say that the standard of care at Drovers Call was “unsafe, undignified, and totally unacceptable,” calling for “rapid improvement” from the care provider.

“We also found the home environment wasn’t always clean or well-maintained, which put people at risk of infection. There were bodily fluids in lounges and corridors. These communal areas were frequently used by most people living in the home, which could put them at risk.

“Following our inspection, we reported our findings to the provider, so they know where we expect to see rapid improvement. If sufficient progress is not made, we will not hesitate to take further action to ensure people’s safety and well-being.”

Knights Care Limited has said it is underway with recovering from the findings of the report, and is confident of turning around fortunes at the next inspection.

“We believe the home is now on the right path and has come a long way since this inspection. We are getting ready to welcome the CQC back to Drovers Call for a new inspection and we are confident that the improvements will be reflected in future reports.

“We welcome any visitors to Drovers Call, should anyone wish to visit the home, please feel free to call the home directly to arrange. Knights Care is fully committed to the home and will endeavour to ensure the newly strengthened management team deliver the outcomes our residents deserve.”

The full report will be published on the CQC’s website in the coming days.