A CHESHAM care home has been placed in special measures after inspectors found ‘people were not protected from abuse’.

The residential care home, in Chartridge Lane, provides care for six people with learning disabilities, autism and with a mental health condition.

The Care Quality Commission inspection in April found the main shortcomings were with safety and leadership, which were found to be ‘inadequate’.

Effectiveness, caring and responsiveness of the service were rated as ‘requires improvement’, just above the lowest rating of ‘inadequate’.

This meant that overall, the service - owned by Centurion Health Care Limited - was found to be inadequate.

The inspector said: “The service was not able to demonstrate how they were meeting the underpinning principles of right support, right care, right culture.

“People were not protected from abuse.”

Following previous inspections over the years rating the Chartridge Lane site as ‘requires improvement’, the provider completed an action plan to show how they would get better. Since no improvement was found, the care home was put in ‘special measures’, meaning if no improvement is made in the next six months, the regulator “will begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service.”

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The regulator was worried about the night-time staffing levels and fire risk after an assessment found the safety arrangements didn’t comply with legal requirements.
While one out of the six residents needed two persons to evacuate them, only one staff was in shift overnight and sometimes they were agency staff who may not have received induction or training with fire evacuation.
A person was put “at risk of dehydration which could affect their health condition”, and one person lost significant weight due to lack of record keeping and lack of use of existing records to get people the support they needed.
Lack of record keeping and training meant one person was at risk of choking, the inspection report said.

A member of staff said in the report: “Recently, I witnessed something which I believed was neglect and reported it to the manager.”

The service breached social care law, because incidents had taken place with no investigation or referral to relevant bodies - something that is required by law.
The care home hadn’t carried out medicine audits for the past three months, and inspectors were not assured staff had training to “ensure safe administration of medicines’.

Medicines were stored securely.

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The inspection found there were “significant” shortfalls in leadership, including failure to notify the regulator of events where a person was at risk of harm or neglect, and the service was at risk of having ‘closed culture’ - meaning “a poor culture that can lead to harm, including human rights breaches such as abuse.” 

A spokesperson for the service said: “Whilst we are disappointed with the findings of the CQC report, we are working closely with our regulatory agencies to make the improvements necessary at the service.

“We as a company remain committed to providing a good standard of care to our clients and have appointed a care consultancy to assist us with making the necessary improvements at the service.”