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Housekeeping staff ‘regularly’ assisting with meals at understaffed care home

Housekeeping staff ‘regularly’ assisting with meals at understaffed care home

Understaffing at a care home in Huddersfield has seen housekeeping staff ‘regularly’ asked to break from their cleaning responsibilities to assist residents with their meals.

Aden House – which removed its nursing provision in October 2022 due to recruitment issues – has been kept in ‘special measures’ and rated ‘inadequate’ again following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in February.

The care home, run by Aden House Limited, provides personal care for up to 60 people in Clayton West, Huddersfield, some of whom are living with dementia.

As well as being rated ‘inadequate’ overall, it was also rated the same in for safety, responsiveness and leadership. The caring and effective ratings rose from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’.

Inspectors said understaffing remains a significant concern at the home which has not employed any nursing staff since October 2022 due to ‘difficulty in recruiting nurses’.

Housekeeping records ‘showed the cleaning team frequently reported concerns about not being able to clean areas of the home, due to being asked to break from their duties to support people at mealtimes’, the CQC report published today said.

‘This placed people at risk of harm due to possible cross contamination,’ it added.

In addition, the report outlined how insufficient staffing was putting patients at risk, especially as many residents required two staff members to support them with their needs.

The latest inspection followed up on action the provider was told to take during the CQC’s previous inspection in April 2023 where the home was found to be ‘unclean’, ‘understaffed’ and ‘unsafe’ in handling medicines.

Sheila Grant, CQC deputy director of operations in the north, said: ‘When we inspected Aden House, it was disappointing that leaders had made little improvement or progress since we last inspected and we continued to identify repeated shortfalls that compromised the safety of people and the quality of care they were receiving.’

She also highlighted concerns that ‘not all staff fully understood the needs of people living with dementia’

‘The manager was aware of this, but no action had been taken and we continued to see people sitting in their rooms all day with no activities or stimulation,’ said Ms Grant.

She added: ‘We have told leaders where we expect to see rapid, widespread improvements and will continue to monitor the home closely to keep people safe during this time.

‘We will return to check on their progress and won’t hesitate to take further action if people aren’t receiving the care they have a right to expect.’

Responding to the report a spokesperson from Aden House said: ‘We are deeply concerned with the outcome of our latest CQC inspection report and we will be discussing the findings with the CQC.

‘Significant improvements have been made since the last inspection and some of these have been acknowledged by the CQC in this report.

‘Our new home manager and regional manager will continue to oversee and implement further improvements. We have been working closely with the local authority and partners who have acknowledged improvements during the period between the CQC’s inspection reports.

‘We have reassured our residents and their loved ones that our highest priority is providing a safe, comfortable, and caring environment for those who reside with us.’

The CQC said it will keep the home under ‘close review’ to ensure residents are kept safe and that the necessary improvements are made.

The regulator also said it was taking further action, which will be reported on when it is ‘legally able to do so’.

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