Published: 00:01, 23 April 2017
An under-fire residential home has been put in special measures after whistle-blowers exposed worrying standards of care.
The Care Quality Commission visited Hamilton’s in Upstreet after it was alerted to widespread failings at the home.
It discovered elderly people had been left dehydrated, others were struggling to eat without support and dementia patients were at risk of scalding themselves as water temperatures went unchecked.
One of the inspectors even sat on a urine-soaked cushion in the home’s lounge during the unannounced visit.
It is the second time the home, run by Lett’s Care Ltd, has been ordered to improve after the watchdog accused the provider of “failing to meet the fundamental aspects of good care” in 2015.
In the latest report, inspectors said there had been a further decline in standards.
Under special measures, if the management team is unable to turn things around within six months, enforcement procedures will begin and the provider may be banned from operating the service.
During the most recent visit to the Island Road home – which looks after 15 people, most with dementia – inspectors found that records containing confidential personal information had gone missing, people’s medicine was not managed properly or care plans updated, and the environment was not safe.
Staff were accused of not consistently monitoring residents’ fluid intake and there was a case when two people going into hospital were recorded as “dehydrated” on admission.
Residents were seen to not always get support at meal times, meaning in some cases they struggled to eat their food, and continence pads were left exposed in people’s bedrooms.
Water temperatures in people’s bathroom sinks had not been checked and there was a risk they could scald themselves, particularly those with dementia.
Inspectors also found exposed electrical wiring in one bedroom, which was fixed on the second day of the two-day inspection in February.
Inspectors, however, found staff – of which there is a high turnover – were warm and affectionate towards people and relatives said they were kind and caring.
They also saw people taking part in a range of activities.
Provider Lett’s Care Ltd now has six months to turn the home around or face being banned from operating the service.
A director for the company said: “Following our recent inspection, we have already made significant improvements to our service, along with addressing all areas of concern.
“We have made vital changes to our management structure to ensure all available resources are focused on delivering a high level of care to all of our residents.
“We have provided CQC with a full and detailed action plan which highlights all areas of concern.
"We continue to work closely with CQC and the local authorities, along with our residents, relatives and staff to ensure we can deliver our transformation programme.”