Care home placed into special measures as rating dropped from good to inadequate

A Lynn care home has been placed into special measures after inspectors reported being concerned about the safety and dignity of residents.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has lowered the rating for Amberley Hall Care Home from good to inadequate following an inspection in July of this year.

Officials said the inspection was prompted by concerns CQC received about people’s needs not being met in a safe and timely way.

Amberley Hall Care Home in King's Lynn. Picture: Google Maps
Amberley Hall Care Home in King’s Lynn. Picture: Google Maps

The report highlights concerns regarding some residents who inspectors said had unclean nails and teeth as there were not enough staff to support them.

They also said the environment imes unsupervised access to potentially dangerous items – particularly for those with dementia – including razors and denture cleaning tablets.

But a spokesperson for Athena Care Homes (Gaywood) Ltd, which runs Amberley Hall, said it was “disappointed” by the report and had challenged the CQC’s findings as it felt some of the areas highlighted were “not a true reflection” of the service.

The spokesperson also, however, said it accepted that there had been some shortcomings and made assurances that the report had been “treated as valuable lessons”.

As well as the home’s overall rating being dropped from good to inadequate, the same lowering in grade was also made for it being safe and well-led.

This inspection did not rate how effective, caring and responsive the service was so these remain rated good.

CQC has placed the service into special measures and issued multiple warning notices to focus the provider’s attention on making rapid and widespread improvements.

Officials from CQC say it will closely monitor the service during this time to keep people safe and will inspect again to assess if improvements are made.

Gill Hodgson-Reilly, CQC deputy director of operations in the East of England, said: “When we inspected Amberley Hall Care Home, we were disappointed to find people weren’t always being supported to live in a safe and dignified way and leaders hadn’t ensured staff knew how to meet people’s specific needs, particularly those of people living with dementia.

“We saw some people had unclean nails and teeth because there weren’t enough staff to support them and parts of the home were unclean and smelled unpleasant, raising people’s risk of infection.

“The environment also allowed unsupervised access to items that could be dangerous, particularly for people with dementia, such as razors, denture cleaning tablets, personal care products, and staff’s personal possessions.

“Additionally, we found people weren’t always being supported in the least restrictive ways possible and assessments of people’s mental capacity weren’t always detailed enough to ensure care respected people’s human rights and maximised their choice and control over their lives.

“Inspectors reported multiple safeguarding incidents to the local authority, including related to restrictive practice.

“Leaders lacked oversight of the service and, where they completed their own checks, weren’t identifying the problems we saw, meaning they were unable to develop solutions.

“This is meant to be people’s home and they deserve the same good quality of life that many of us take for granted.

“We’ll continue to monitor the service closely to ensure improvements are made and won’t hesitate to take further action if we’re not assured people are receiving safe and dignified care.”

Inspectors also found that:

– Staff did not always respond promptly to call bells or alerts that people had gotten up, which could risk people’s safety

– When things went wrong, leaders did not always take prompt or effective action to protect people from mistakes being repeated in the future

– Some gates and doors out of the building and surrounding garden did not close securely, which could result in people leaving the service without staff knowing. This could pose a risk to the safety of people, particularly those with dementia, and CQC was notified of four such incidents prior to this inspection where people had left the service.

– Records did not always demonstrate people received their medicines as prescribed.

– People were not always supported by staff to change their position regularly to protect them from pressure ulcers.

Despite this:

– People had the opportunity to feedback on the service through regular meetings

– People and their relatives said they felt welcome to visit the service and access the local community

A “robust action plan” has been put into place at Amberley Hall, which provides nursing and residential care for up to 106 people, to ensure all concerns are addressed, the spokesperson for Athena Care Homes said.

“We are proud to operate Amberley Hall Care Home as a purpose-built care home, where we have served the Lynn community since 2014.

“Throughout that time, we have developed a strong reputation by building the trust and support of our local community.

“As such, we are disappointed by the latest CQC report, but want to offer firm assurances that these have been treated as valuable lessons by the team at our home and the wider Athena Care Homes group.

“Whilst we accept there were some shortcomings on the day of inspection, we did challenge the findings from the CQC as we felt some of the areas highlighted in the report were not a true reflection of the service.

“We have put in place a robust action plan to ensure all areas of concern are addressed.

“We are also pleased to have welcomed our new, experienced home manager to the team, who is currently being supported.

“This additional support will continue for the foreseeable future to ensure continuous improvements are made and to provide ongoing support to our residents, team members and families.

“We want to reassure our residents, their loved ones, our team and all external stakeholders, that we are working hard to ensure immediate improvements are made and embedded into our service.”