A resident was found lying on a urine-soaked mattress at a dementia care home in High Wycombe – prompting inspectors to put it in special measures amid claims from a whistle-blower that the facility is in crisis.

Holmers House in Holmers Farm Way has been rated inadequate by healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after inspectors made an unannounced visit in August.

It comes as a staff member – who did not want to be named – revealed that agency staff are making “life-threatening errors” with residents’ medication.

CQC inspectors found some people were taken into the lounge where they “spent the day asleep in front of the television” without any staff interaction, some residents were not given their medicine because of “insufficient stock” and that staff did not always report their concerns.

Inspectors also found residents were not always treated with dignity and respect by staff. In a damning report, they said: “We observed undignified care practices during our inspection.

“One person walked along the corridor with their trousers rolled up to their knees and their urine catheter bag visible. We saw that staff assisted the person to enter the lounge for activities but had not noticed the way the person was dressed. We asked staff to adjust the person's clothing to preserve their dignity.

“Another observation of people's dignity not being respected was during lunch time. We saw one person sitting in a lounge chair with their urine catheter bag resting on the carpet. However, a member of staff rectified this when they became aware of this.”

They also found the kitchen’s microwave was dirty, the heated food trolley was not clean and uncovered a resident’s bed linen to find the mattress was “soaked in urine”, even though staff had made the bed.

One of the 41 residents had also gone three days without their regular medication for constipation – which could have resulted in “pain or a serious health condition”. Another resident had gone without medicine to reduce gastric acid – which could result in stomach ulcers – for seven days.

There are also fears the staff did not act on health issues they uncovered – including one incident where staff had documented a resident’s urine was “dark and cloudy” but did not report it a GP.

Another person had previously been admitted to hospital with dehydration had had to be given intravenous fluids.

In response to the report, Heritage Care, who own the care home, said they are working on their “shortcomings”.

In a statement, they said: “A recent CQC inspection of Holmers House highlighted a number of shortcomings in the service being provided.

“Heritage Care fully accepts the findings of the report and is working with the local authority and the CQC to address any shortcomings this report highlighted.

“The wellbeing safety and care of the people that use Heritage Care services are the cornerstone of the organisations ethos and values.

“The organisation and its staff teams are fully committed to the continuous improvement of all its services.”