Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Millhouse care home told to improve services

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Mr and Mrs N Frances that they must take immediate action to improve services at Millhouse care home in Faversham, Kent.

When they visited the home in October,inspectors found that the provider was failing to meet 13 of the essential standards of quality and safety, covering dignity and rights, care and welfare, consent, nutrition, cross agency working, safeguarding, cleanliness and infection control, management of medicines, safe surroundings and equipment, staffing, risk management and record keeping. By law, providers of care services must ensure that they are meeting all the essential standards.

Millhouse provides care and support to up to 24 older adults with dementia. The report, which is published today by CQC, follows an unannounced inspection of the home. CQC has been working with Kent County Council to ensure people living at the home are not at risk of immediate harm.

Among CQC’s concerns were:

  • Respecting people’s rights: Inspectors found that some people were not supported in making choices, such as what they ate and when they rose in the morning, and that their privacy was not always respected.
  • Consent to care and treatment: Inspectors found that there was no evidence that people living in the home had been consulted on, or assessed as to whether they had mental capacity to make decisions regarding their care. Inspectors found that people living in the home were having their movements restricted; for example, the lift was wedged open on the ground floor at night to prevent its use.
  • Cross agency working: Professionals from other agencies told inspectors that the home did not always co-operate well with them. People living in the home were not supported to receive safe and co-ordinated care.
  • Management of medicines: Inspectors found that the administration of medicines was poorly managed. Medication had been prepared and placed into unlabelled pots before it was dispensed, leading to serious risk of people being harmed by being given the wrong medication.
  • Safeguarding people from abuse: Inspectors identified little recognition within the home of how to support people with diminished capacity or how to deal with issues around deprivation of liberty. There had been a significant number of accidents in the home, primarily falls, and there was no formal system for monitoring these or for looking at ways to reduce risk.
  • Staffing: Inspectors found that appropriately trained staff were not always on duty to meet the needs of people living in the home. Staff told inspectors that there were not enough people working in the home, especially in the mornings and evenings.
  • Monitoring of service provision: Inspectors found a lack of processes to monitor care quality. Safety checks took place, but the extent to which actions identified were taken was not apparent. There was no monitoring and management of risk of falls.

Ian Biggs, Deputy Director of CQC in the South, said:

“When our inspectors visited Millhouse in October, they found that 13 of the essential standards were not being met. This is completely unacceptable, and could not be allowed to continue.

“Staff at the home told our inspectors that there were simply not enough people working there to complete all the tasks that needed to be done. Management of medicines was of serious concern, as was the level of appropriately skilled staff available at certain times. These aspects were so worrying that we told the providers that they must take immediate action to remedy them.

“We also told the home to provide us with a written action plan showing how they will comply with the standards, which they have done. Inspectors will return to the home to check on progress in the near future.

“We will continue to monitor Millhouse closely, and will not hesitate to use our legal powers to ensure the safety and welfare of the people living there if we need to.”

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