Poor Risk Management & Care Planning Led to CQC Placing Care Home in Special Measures

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Willows Care Home, Chester that they must make improvements to protect the safety and welfare of people they care for. It follows an inspection in April.

The Willows Care Home can accommodate 73 people and at the time of the inspection, 54 people were living at the home. The home had previously been inspected in October 2016 and rated as Requires Improvement.

At this inspection, inspectors found new and repeated breaches of regulations. The domains of safe and well-led were rated Inadequate and for caring, effectiveness and responsiveness we rated the service as Requires Improvement. Overall, Willows care home was rated inadequate and placed into special measures.

Key Findings

  • Inspectors found that people could not be assured that risks to their safety were always fully assessed or kept under review. Risks were not always reduced as much as possible and therefore, the service failed to take reasonable steps to keep people safe. The service had not addressed the concerns raised during this or previous inspection visits undertaken by CQC.
  • Care plans were in place however they were not always updated following any changes to peoples care needs. The care and support of people who lived at the home did not always follow their care plan requirements. This meant that there was a risk that their needs were not fully met.
  • Audits were undertaken but learning was not maximised from the findings of these audits.
  • People were not treated with dignity and respect and this was evident over the course of the inspection.

Debbie Westhead, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the North, said  “We were concerned with the condition of the environment at the last inspection and it is clear the issues had not been addressed properly. While there were examples of some work, the service had not made the improvements promised by the end of December 2016. Remedial repair work was still required to the fabric of the building for example; there were holes, flaking plaster and torn wallpaper on the walls in the corridors, bathrooms and some bedrooms. Skirting boards, tiles and grouting were also in need of repair.

“Other agencies had highlighted concerns with appropriate foods being offered and the dining experience, yet during our inspection it was evident that swift remedial action had not been taken. Worryingly, this meant that the systems in place to monitor the home and drive improvement were not effective. People were not treated with dignity and respect and this was evident over the course of the inspection.

“The service had a system of audits in place for areas such as infection control, medicines and care plans. However, we found these were not always comprehensive or accurate which meant that risks to people’s health and safety were not identified. For example, weekly medicines audits had been carried out but they did not identify issues with storage.

“This service was a long way to go to become compliant and I have concerns in that the same concerns found at the last inspection had not been addressed. Consequently, the Willows care home has been placed in special measures. The CQC will keep the service under review and If not enough improvement is made we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service.”

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