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Dartford's Athlone Care put in special measures after CQC report

By Ed McConnell

A Dartford care provider has been placed into special measures after inspectors reported a shocking lack of communication was rendering the service unsafe.

Athlone Care, based in East Hill, must now make urgent changes or it will face closure.

The company provides support to people living at home and suffering from a range of conditions – including elderly people living with dementia – and currently cares for 50 people.

Despite the relatively small number of clients, in April alone the company received 244 complaints that carers were more than half an hour late to appointments.

The service cares for people with a range of conditions including dementia
The service cares for people with a range of conditions including dementia

The Care Quality Commission spent two days at the company in June after breaches of the Health and Social Care Act were flagged up in May 2016, leading to the service being rated as requiring improvement.

June’s visit revealed the breaches had not been addressed and more were identified leading to the provider being rated as inadequate for safety, responsiveness and leadership.

Inspectors identified several incidents of patients falling, being taken ill or on one occasion developing a pressure sore without management being informed. Even when notes were taken they weren’t regularly reviewed.

The report stated without this communication of potential signs of neglect follow up action could not be taken and patients were being put at risk.

“Inspectors found this service was failing to provide the level of care people should be able to expect.” — Deborah Ivanova

Care plans lacked information on vital dietary requirements and specific needs despite having been checked over by senior staff and the administration of medicine was not consistently recorded.

Staff were not following the principles of The Mental Capacity Act, with some people’s relatives having signed to consent to the care provided even though those people were able to consent themselves.

Other clients were documented as “confused” with no further information and no specific training on how to identify or handle their conditions.

Clients did report staff were caring and all employees were working towards recognised qualifications.

A spokesman for Athlone Care said the CQC was currently inspecting the service again and it would be inappropriate to comment.

Deborah Ivanova, deputy chief inspector of adult social care in the CQC’s south region, said: “It is important the people can rely on getting the high quality care which everyone is entitled to.

“Inspectors found this service was failing to provide the level of care people should be able to expect.”

To view the full report go to bit.ly/athlonereport

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