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Derbyshire care home left residents with dementia alone and at risk of choking

today29 August 2022 1

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Inspectors found that a lack of supervision at a Derbyshire care home led to elderly residents being put at risk of injury, abuse and harm. This included staff leaving those suffering from dementia unsupervised, one person living at the premises being given the wrong medicine, and the risk of others choking on mismanaged medicines.

A report by the national health and social care watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, inspected Watford House Residential Care Home, in New Mills, High Peak, in December 2021 “due to concerns received about staffing levels and culture at the service”. They went on to find a number of concerns during their visit.

Officials said: “Three people, some who were living with dementia, in the communal lounges unsupervised as staff were supporting people to get out of bed. This meant there were opportunities for incidents to occur which may have placed people at risk of abuse, harm and injury.”

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One resident was also given the wrong medicine, incurring health risks. Inspectors said: “We observed a thickener prescribed for one person being used for another person.

“This meant there was a risk this person was being administered a medicine that was not required. This may have placed the person at risk of harm.”

Others were at risk of choking on medicines that were not managed securely. The report added: “Medicines were not always stored properly. Medicine fridge and trolley temperatures were not always recorded.

“We found tubs of thickeners in an unlocked cupboard in a communal dining area accessible to people. Thickeners are prescribed medicines which are added to people’s drinks to reduce the risk of choking. This exposed people to unnecessary risk of harm.

“People’s dignity was not always maintained as staff did not always have time in busier periods. A wheelchair left in the middle of a corridor used by people could have posed a trip risk or prevented staff acting quickly in an emergency.

“Two people did not have risk assessments relevant to their care needs in place. Daily records were kept but were focused on tasks completed, rather than being about the person.

“Recruitment processes were not always followed. We reviewed three staff recruitment files and found the service’s recruitment policy was not always followed. Records of interviews and references were not always in place. This meant there were risks staff may not have always been recruited safely.

“Areas such as the laundry and kitchen were unlocked and accessible to people who were unsupervised.”

Carinna Mycock, manager of Watford House, told Derbyshire Live that measures have since been put in place. She said: “The inspection happened in December 2021, and since then we’ve corrected the concerns raised.”

The CQC has clarified why some information in the report could not be published until August 18, 2022. A spokesperson said: “There wasn’t a delay in the report. We carried out an inspection on December 6-7, 2021 and the final report was published in February 2022.

“However, supplementary enforcement information was submitted on August 19, 2022, so that date will supersede the original report published date. This is the exact same report, just with enforcement details added at the end (these have to wait for a legal period to publish so get added in later).”

Regarding Watford House’s claim that the problems described in the report have been addressed, the spokesperson added: “As we have not inspected the service recently we are unable to comment on whether the original concerns have been rectified.”

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