A care home in Cambridge has been placed into special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following concerns around resident safety and a lack of ‘skills and knowledge’ among staff.
St Georges Court Care Home has been downgraded by the healthcare watchdog, with the home’s rating dropping from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’ following inspections in June and July.
The care home, run by St Georges Court Healthcare Ltd, provides personal and nursing care for up to 76 older people.
The CQC said the inspections were prompted by concerns raised over ‘people not always receiving safe and dignified care’.
As well as the overall rating dropping from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’, the same downgrading has occurred for the home’s leadership rating. In addition, the safety rating has dropped from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘inadequate’, and the home’s rating for being effective, caring and responsive has been downgraded from ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’.
The inspection report, published this month, found that the care home’s recruitment policy had failed to recognise that staff ‘lacked the skills and knowledge to monitor people’s known risks safely’.
Inspectors cited the example of two nurses who did not know how to check pressure mattress settings to support people at a higher risk of poor skin integrity.
In addition, the home failed to identify that staff lacked skills, confidence and knowledge to effectively support people living with dementia, leading to ‘a high number of incidents within the service’, the CQC said.
Inspectors found the provider did not document known risks in sufficient detail to guide staff on how to nurse and care for people safely.
While staff received training based on people’s needs, and competencies were undertaken to help ensure that knowledge was embedded, the home failed to identify skills and knowledge gaps for some staff in areas including dementia care, nursing care and safeguarding, the CQC added.
Relatives of home residents told inspectors that lunch times and breaks resulted in insufficient staffing levels at certain times of the day, with one reporting that their family member would have to wet themselves if they needed the toilet between 12pm and 2:30pm.
Gill Hodgson-Reilly, CQC deputy director of operations in the East of England, said: ‘When incidents did occur, we found staff didn’t always record them promptly or accurately, and lessons weren’t always learned to protect people in future.
‘In one incident, we found staff had failed to monitor a person following a fall, and they were later found to have fractured a bone, but an investigation report by the provider identified no learning or actions for the future.’
Ms Hodgson-Reilly added: ‘We also found the home environment wasn’t always clean or well-maintained.
‘The inspection team found one person eating in the same room as soiled bedding and saw a staff member supporting someone’s toileting needs without closing the door. This is unsafe, undignified, and an unacceptable way to treat people.’
However, the report also noted that people and their loved ones said they felt safe in the home, and staff supported people in the ‘least restrictive way possible’.
It also said that the provider encouraged people’s loved ones to visit the home, and staff made people’s visitors feel welcome.
In a press statement, St Georges Court said it was ‘wholeheartedly devoted to swiftly and comprehensively’ addressing the issues identified in the CQC report.
The statement added: ‘We deeply regret any concern that this has caused. We wish to reassure everyone that we have been, and continue to take immediate actions to improve and resolve these matters and our senior nursing team are still working with the home on a daily basis to ensure these improvements are fully embedded.’
According to St Georges Court, ‘significant positive changes’ have been made since the inspections, and a support team is providing mentoring and training to staff, as well as leading implementation of new processes.
The CQC said the placing of the care home under special measures would support improvement and ensure people’s safety.
The decision means the home will be closely monitored and inspected again to assess whether the issues identified by inspectors have been addressed.