Inspectors criticise 'inadequate' care home


One of the community's largest residential homes has been deemed "not safe" after a Care Quality Commission inspection which found it failing in all areas.

Donisthorpe Hall in Leeds, which operates close to a capacity of 189, was also found to be "not effective" and "not well led". The overall rating of "inadequate" is the CQC's lowest and the commission said the home was in "special measures". Donisthorpe chiefs claim that improvements have been implemented.

The damning inspection report, released last week, follows an unannounced visit in June. The previous inspection 18 months ago found the home "requires improvement", the regulator's second-worst ranking.

On that occasion, among the reported deficiencies were that residents were "not protected against the risks associated with unsafe management of medicines" and that "staff were not adequately trained".

Donisthorpe promised to remedy the problems by March of this year but the latest inspection found that "the provider had not completed their plan of action and legal requirements were still not met. We also found additional breaches."

Few staff had completed the relevant training

The home - which reported a loss of £250,000 in its last accounts - will now be closely monitored and subject to another inspection within the next six months, said CQC press officer Mark Humphreys.

"If improvements have not been made to a required standard, CQC can take further action, which the inspection team will consider."

Issues recorded in the latest inspection include complaints from three residents respectively about "unexplained bruising to both wrists", feeling "neglected" and having "been injured at the beginning of June 2015 when receiving personal care".

With regard to the latter complaint, the CQC was told by "a nurse in charge [that] the injury occurred because staff had not followed the person's care plan and had used incorrect equipment when bathing the person".

The CQC pointed out that "at the [previous] inspection, we reported that some staff were not looking at care plans to find out about people's needs. At this inspection, we found this had not changed."

One professional involved with the home told the inspectors about a "shortage of trained staff; a lack of experience on the floor and [that] staff were leaving. New nursing staff felt unsupported."

Only "a low percentage" of staff had finished the necessary training, with none of the 250-plus employees having completed instruction on safe handling of medication.

Hardly any had completed food hygiene training, just 14 per cent were fully trained in dementia awareness and barely a third in health and safety. The inspectors were told that the home was "waiting for certificates to verify the training which had been completed in October/November 2014 and would then input this data on the matrix.

"We asked to see evidence that staff knowledge and implementation was checked following completion of specific training courses. This was not provided."

Speaking this week, Donisthorpe chief operating officer Jo Crossland attributed these failings to "inadequacies in our record keeping regarding the monitoring of staff training".

The home had "completed the implementation of an electronic record system as well as appointing a training co-ordinator whose responsibility is to orchestrate externally facilitated training for staff at all levels".

Ms Crossland, who took up the post in January, added that Donisthorpe had recently appointed a manager of the home to "complete our management team". It had also recruited a pharmacist "to support with the implementation of a complete new medication management system".

She acknowledged that the home had been using "outdated systems in terms of evidence-based practice and 21st-century thinking" but maintained that issues of concern had been addressed since the June inspection.

If the home is found to still be "inadequate" when the CQC next inspects, the commission will cancel or vary the terms of Donisthorpe's registration unless there is rapid improvement. Closure is the ultimate sanction.

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