Revealed: Why these Cumbria care homes required improvement

Here's why some of Cumbria's care homes required improvement
Here's why some of Cumbria's care homes required improvement

AROUND a dozen Cumbrian care homes were found to be substandard at their latest inspections, according to data from the Care Quality Commission.

The News & Star analysed reports for all of the area's lowest rated homes to find out more about concerns flagged by the CQC.

Improvements, along with changes in staff and management teams, may have been made since the inspections were carried out.

Here are some of the reasons why inspectors said these homes required improvement:

Emmaus House Residential Care Home, Whitehaven

Owned by a Christian Brethren charitable organisation, this home has 26 places for elderly people.

The CQC’s latest inspection was prompted in part by concerns over support at night.

Inspectors identified breaches in relation to safe care, treatment and good governance.

They found safety could be compromised by sometimes only having two staff on duty at night and said fire drills and instructions were out of date.

The CQC requested an action plan from the home but said staff and residents were happy with care delivery and good levels of personal, pastoral and emotional care were given.

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The Old Vicarage, Askam in Furness

This home specialises in care for the elderly and those with learning disabilities.

Inspectors said people felt happy and comfortable there but uncovered concerns around infection prevention.

They found residents with Covid-19 sharing communal facilities with others, placing those without the virus "at very high risk of being infected".

Used lateral flow desks, some positive, were found on desks and no risk assessment to manage an outbreak of coronavirus was seen, though the manager is said to have acted immediately to address the issues.

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Twin Oaks, Windermere

Inspectors uncovered safety breaches and said care records were completed in advance of care being provided.

They higlighted a lack of risk assessments and said one resident had lost 12kg in less than 18 months but had not had their weight documented for three months prior to the inspection.

They said safeguarding processes were robust and residents felt safe in the home, while the provider and manager acted quickly to address risks found.

A spokesman for the home said a legal challenge is currently on-going.

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Westmorland Court Nursing and Residential Home, Carnforth

After issues were uncovered at a previous visit in 2019, inspectors said conditions had since improved but more could be done to reduce the risk of infection around the home.

The CQC found processes needed to be improved when people were admitted who were not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Registered manager Catherine Zimbeva said all issues raised in 2019, along with issues around the admission of unvaccinated people had since been addressed.

She said: “The care home has received invaluable support from the Cumbria County Council Infection Prevention and Control Team and all our staff have received infection control training.”

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The Good Companions, Wigton

Inspectors found "no organisational insight of incidents" and gaps in records and checks, with medicines not always managed appropriately.

They said incidents had not always been reported to the safeguarding authority and new risks were not always assessed or recorded.

A spokesman for the home said the manager at the time of the inspection is no longer in role and that the whole team is “100% committed to providing outstanding care” and confident the next inspection report will reflect this.

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Stilecroft Residential Home, Workington

Prior to its latest inspection, the home was put into special measures - improvements made since mean its rating was raised to 'requires improvement'.

However, inspectors said people were at risk of harm due to "failures to adequately identify and address concerns about the quality and safety of the service" and found medicines were not always administered appropriately.

Claire Tennyson, the home’s registered manager, said improvements had been made since the CQC inspection and that it was hoped at their next visit, the facility would be found to be outstanding.

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Harbour View, Whitehaven

Inspectors said infection prevention protocols were not always followed and saw staff not wearing face masks, with some wearing them inappropriately.

The CQC was told medicine stocks were not always adequate, with one resident reportedly going without medication for days.

But residents told inspectors they felt safe and were supported by staff.

A spokesman for Four Seasons, which runs the home, said: "We regret that the inspector felt Harbour View had fallen below the standards the CQC requires."

He said a comprehensive action plan had been implemented to address concerns.

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Heron Hill, Kendal

This home has carried a 'requires improvement' rating since 2019 and staff are keen to be reinspected by the CQC after making significant improvements.

When inspected, some aspects of the service were found to be not always safe and two instances of unexplained bruising on residents were witnessed.

Inspectors reported a high reliance on agency staff and inconsistencies in the recording of capacity assessments, while concerns were raised over the potential of some residents becoming socially isolated within the home.

But inspectors said staff were kind, caring and helpful.

A spokesman for the home said he would welcome a reinspection and that all issues previously raised had been addressed.

He said independent audits indicated that the home should now be rated 'good'.

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The Gables, Whitehaven

This council run home supports young adults, disabled people and elderly residents.

Inspectors found people were at risk due to a lack of consistent record keeping, while assessments and care plans were not always in place.

One resident had been at the facility a week without a plan being established, while breaches were identified in relation to regulations around person-centred care and good governance.

However, residents said they felt safe and staff knew how to respond to safeguarding concerns.

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Kingston Court, Carlisle

The home's systems for monitoring the service were not always effective, according to inspectors.

Medicine records were not maintained accurately and the CQC found gaps in the records for staff Covid-19 testing, meaning it was unclear if Government guidance was being followed.

But the premises were said to be very clean and residents well-treated.

A spokesperson for the home said staff were very proud of the care offered, adding: "

“While the report was overwhelmingly positive there were some areas that required improvement - which the team have since addressed.

“We look forward to continuing to deliver high levels of care for our residents in and around the Carlisle area.”

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Virginia Lodge, Carlisle

Inspectors said the registered manager had not always followed guidance around Covid-19, that the storage and disposal of medicine was not always safe and that people were not supported to have maximum support and control of their lives.

The CQC found some staff were not wearing masks to protect people from coronavirus, but Lauren Walsh, the registered manager, said risks were managed and that masks impaired communication with those who had dementia.

The News & Star understands nobody at the home had Covid-19 during the time of the inspection.

Inspectors said staff and management genuinely cared for residents and supported them to be independent, while the manager was said to take a 'hands on' approach and had an action plan in place to improve the service.

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