Care home ‘failed to notify officials of abuse’

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Staff at a care home failed to notify officials of incidents of physical and verbal abuse and intimidation, a health watchdog has said in a report.

The report follows an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) at The Laurels in Guildford Road, Broadbridge Heath, which is the subject of an investigation by Sussex Police and West Sussex County Council after ‘serious safeguarding concerns’.

And in a report published on July 26 by the CQC, The Laurels - run by Sussex Health Care - has been rated overall as ‘requiring improvement’.

Another of Sussex Health Care’s homes - Orchard Lodge in Dorking Road, Warnham - is also the subject of a police and county council investigation.

The Laurels provides accommodation for adults aged under 65 who have learning or physical disabilities or who need nursing care.

The Care Quality Commission report was published last Wednesday - two days before West Sussex County Councillor Peter Catchpole, who is a paid adviser for Sussex Health Care, quit his roles as deputy council leader and cabinet member for health.

In the latest commission report, The Laurels is rated as ‘inadequate’ in its leadership and ‘requires improvement’ in areas of safety and effectiveness. It is rated ‘good’ in areas of care and responsiveness.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission made an unannounced visit to The Laurels on May 10, having brought forward their inspection ‘following the identification of significant risks relating to people’s care’.

In their report, the inspectors, added: “The service had been the subject of eight safeguarding investigations by social services.” They were told by the local Clinical Commissioning Group - responsible for monitoring health services - that they had also visited the care home and that things had improved.

But commission inspectors said they ‘identified a number of further risks which were not appropriately managed’ and found four breaches of the Regulations of the Health and Social Care Act.

The inspectors said that staff had received training in ‘safeguarding’ but that, ‘while some incidents had been reported, other incidents, such as verbal abuse, intimidation and physical abuse between people, had not been identified as safeguarding concerns and had not been reported to the local authority’ as required by law.

The inspectors also said there was a ‘lack of managerial oversight’ and that the care home’s area manager failed to provide them with essential records and records of complaints.

However, they said that medicines were well managed, there were sufficient staff in place, residents’ privacy was respected, residents were involved in planning their care and the residents described staff as ‘kind and caring’ during the inspectors’ visit.

A spokesman for Sussex Health Care said in a statement today: “We take feedback from the CQC very seriously and have been working hard to address the points raised by the inspector since they visited the home in May. We have put a range of measures in place to ensure that record-keeping is accurate and up-to-date, and have brought in additional resources to support the management team at the home, including appointing an independent expert to provide direct support. Most importantly, we have recruited a highly qualified home manager, who has both Mental Health Nursing and General Nursing registrations, who is joining the home in the second week in August.

“Our priority at all times is the wellbeing of residents and we are pleased to see the report highlights the good standards of care and responsiveness provided at the home. The report notes that residents are treated with kindness and dignity by the dedicated staff team. With the additional measures put in place to improve record-keeping and with the forthcoming appointment of our new Registered Manager, plus our ongoing close work with fellow healthcare professionals at the Clinical Commissioning Group and the County, we very much hope to return to achieving good outcomes in all categories when we are next inspected.”

The full CQC report can be found here: http://www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-2140308001