A Horsham care home - one of nine currently being investigated by police following the deaths of 12 people - has come in for criticism from health watchdogs.
The Care Quality Commission has rated Kingsmead Care Centre in Crawley Road, Roffey, as ‘requiring improvement’ following an inspection.
The care centre is run by Sussex Health Care which owns 19 care homes in various locations in and around Horsham, nine of which - including Kingsmead - are currently at the centre of an ongoing police probe.
In a report out this week, the Care Quality Commission said that Kingsmead had been ‘subject to a period of increased monitoring’ since a previous inspection in October 2016.
It concluded that Kingsmead required improvements in safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and leadership. However, the commission rated the care centre as ‘good’ in caring.
The centre provides accommodation and nursing care to people in two units, located in one building. One, known as Haven, provides care for up to nine people with learning and physical disabilities and those with acquired brain injuries. The other unit provides care for up to 25 older people with physical frailties and dementia.
Ruling the service as ‘requiring improvement’ in safety, the Care Quality Commission said that inspectors had found that there was no guidance or risk assessment available for staff supporting a person with asthma.
They said the service provided was not always effective because not all staff had received training in specific subjects such as residents with epilepsy and learning disabilities. And they said that residents in the Haven faced a lack of personalised activity and stimulation.
They also said that auditing systems were ‘not always effective in measuring the quality of care provided to people.’
A spokesman for Sussex Health Care said: “We are saddened and surprised that the CQC have given the home a rating of ‘Requires Improvement’ when the report itself highlights so many examples of good practice. We are very concerned that, under normal circumstances, the evidence from this inspection would have led to a ‘Good’ rating, but that in the current climate the regulator felt pressured to mark the home down.
“There is extensive evidence throughout the report to support a ‘Good’ rating. The report openly acknowledges that people feel safe at Kingsmead. It notes that staff are kind and caring, that they know residents well and how to meet their needs. It confirms that relatives and friends are encouraged to visit freely and to maintain contact with their loved ones, and that any complaints are managed effectively.
“The report highlights that residents are treated with dignity and respect, and they are supported to express their views and be involved in decision-making about their care. It further confirms that staff understand their roles and duties, and they speak positively about the home and the support they receive from the management team.
“It is deeply surprising that in the ‘Safe’ category the home is rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ solely on the basis that one resident’s care plan was deemed to be missing a single piece of documentation. There were no other reported shortfalls in the plans for any of the other 33 residents. The report also acknowledges that this single piece of documentation was completed shortly after the inspection.
“In the ‘Effective’ category we accept that some staff had not completed all their training modules, but this is currently being addressed.
“In the ‘Responsive’ category the report cites a lack of activities in the Haven unit, but then recognises that a new activities coordinator has been appointed and that residents’ meetings were being held to involve them in deciding which activities people would like to do.
“In the ‘Well-led’ category the report highlights praise for the manager from residents and staff alike, and acknowledges her hands on approach taking shift duties with junior staff throughout the week on a regular basis.
“Given all of the above, we sincerely hope that the CQC will take the opportunity to revisit the home soon, and provide it with the ‘Good’ report it clearly merits.”