An incident where a resident suffered “serious injury” has led to a Blackpool care home being labelled inadequate – and sparked a criminal investigation.
No details about the incident have yet been revealed, but the care watchdog Care Quality Commission (CQC) said the Highbury House Care Home, in Lytham Road, South Shore, must go into special measures.
It means further inspections will be carried out within six months and, if improvements are not made, the home could be closed.
Highbury House caters for up to 28 people and was providing personal and nursing care to 19 people aged 65 and over at the time of the CQC’s visit. It comes after the watchdog inspected last year and said the home, run by DM Care Ltd, ‘requires improvement’.
The home was inspected again in August after the CQC received complaints about the incident, as well as other concerns about how the home was being run.
A snap inspection was carried out and among the issues were:
- A mattress that was “ingrained with stains from faecal matter” which posed an infection risk to the resident;
- A fridge used to store medicines was dirty and one box of medicine was stuck to its floor;
- Medicines were not managed safely and records were incomplete which placed people at risk of harm;
- Staff did not always know what creams and inhalers people were prescribed;
- There was no consistent care to prevent bed sores;
- Dietary requirements and nutrition risk policies were not always followed; and
- Procedures to keep residents safe in the building and to stop them wandering off were not always followed.
In its report, the CQC said: “The inspection was prompted, in part, by notification of a specific incident which indicated the registered manager, who is no longer in post, did not always seek medical treatment to keep people healthy.
“We are unable to make an informed judgement until the investigation into the specific incident is concluded.
“The inspection was prompted, in part, due to concerns received about the leadership and management of the home, the management of medicines, staffing and good governance.
“A decision was made for us to inspect and examine those risks.
“Concerns were also received following a specific incident, where a person using the service sustained serious injuries. This incident is subject to a criminal investigation.”
The report concluded: “There is a history of non-compliance.
“The provider representative had failed to respond adequately to serious concerns raised by CQC and improve the care people received.”
It conceded that there was a lack os stability in the management team but that “people were at risk of avoidable harm.”
David Mosely from DM Care, which runs the home as well as the nearby Ambassador Care Home, said at the time of the serious incident he had been unaware of the problem and felt let down by the management at the time.
He added that the care home sector was under increasing pressure.
He said: “As this incident is still ongoing I cannot go into detail.
“The manager at the time who was attending to the care of this person, left without warning, the home did an internal investigation following this incident and gave this to the authorities.”
He said running a care home under the stringent regulations was extremely challenging and people came into the sector with the best intentions to care for others.
He said: “I am angered and saddened by the outcome of this report.
“Highbury House has cared for thousands of elderly people for over 38 years from the beginning of the 1980’s and once one of the finest care homes in the area being the first in Blackpool to start a Care In the Community program and a meals on wheels service from 1990 to the year 2000.
“Providers come into this industry come in because they are very caring people and Blackpool has an abundance of them who are sometimes underrated and left out on their own.”
He added: “It is an uncompromising system that requires urgent and radical change in every department, an industry that’s underfunded and exhausted and at a point where urgent action and remodelling needs to happen.
“On this occasion we were let down by a management team who walked away only 12 weeks ago during a difficult period – hence to turn it around with a practically new team was an impossible task.
“I would, however, like to thank all the staff and families that have supported this home during this period.”