A care home has been judged unsafe by a team of inspectors from the NHS regulator, following an unannounced visit.
The Care Quality Commission has instructed the Gables Residential Home to make improvements.
It is interesting to note that the visit in question was unannounced, as this will become a more central aspect of CQC strategy from hereon in.
The commission has already announced this aspect of its forthcoming strategy as it attempts to operate more efficiently.
Action was demanded in a report completed following an inspection at the home in December.
Inspectors found scalding hot radiators with no effective covers, which had burned one resident, while staffing levels were also considered inadequate.
Recruiting procedures and checks on staff were not always completed, and medicines were not stored or recorded properly.
However, despite the reservations of inspectors, the overall level of care at the home was considered to be good.
The Care Quality Commission report outlined some of the problems that inspectors discovered.
“The service was not safe. The radiators in The Gables were extremely hot to touch in communal areas and corridors. Radiator covers were broken and were not protecting people. Recruitment procedures were not being followed. There were not enough staff to meet people’s needs. Medicines were not stored correctly. Medicines administration records were not always completed fully.”
On the other hand, the commission noted several positives that were observed during the inspection.
“Staff understood and practised their responsibilities for protecting people from abuse. People received care and support that was centred on their individual needs. Their care plans included information about how they wanted to be supported. Staff treated people with dignity and respect.”
The proprietor of The Gables, Samuel Suffolk, indicated that he had assumed ownership of the home one year before the inspection.
Suffolk claimed that improvements had been made before the report was published in March, as the organisational structure of The Gables had become aware of problems.
In a statement, assistant manager Louise Shaw outlined some of the action take by The Gables.
“Since the inspection the home manager has had all the radiator covers repaired or replaced. The radiators that were too hot now have been fitted with thermostatic controls and also have a radiator thermometer in place so that temperatures can be checked daily to keep them within safe limits. The management and staff are working hard to make the required improvements highlighted at the latest CQC inspection. We are continually striving to improve the quality of the service we provide and would like to stress that the care of our service users is our first priority.”
Recent organisational changes in the Care Quality Commission have acknowledged that fact that the inspector has been guilty of judging healthcare institutions too harshly.