'˜Unsafe' home blasted in damning inspection

A care home slammed by regulators as '˜inadequate' failed residents in a number of key areas, according to a damning report.

Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:21 pm
Amber Banks Care Home, Clifton Drive, Blackpool

The Care Quality Commission’s inspection at the Amber Banks Care Home in Clifton Drive found no registered manager in place, poor health and safety, fire and infection controls, failures to monitor against malnutrition and dehydration and a concerns over the management of medication.

The regulator’s assessment of the 46-bed home was so critical that Blackpool Council has put all the residents it funds into alternative accommodation.

Other issues raised by the report included a failure to properly update care records, poor care planning, a lack of consistent staffing and several breaches of the Health and Social Care Act.

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The home will be inspected again within the next six months and could face closure if improvements are not made.

The report, which followed an inspection in May this year, said workers at the home had raised concerns over a ‘staff exodus’ with leadership and recruitment a major issue.

Coun Amy Cross, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for adult social care, said: “Moving residents out of a care home is not an easy decision to make and is one that we try to avoid where possible.

“However, there are circumstances where it is in the residents’ interests to move them as opposed to keeping them in a home which we deem as unsafe. The quality of Amber Banks Care Home has deteriorated rapidly over the past few months, with a high turnover of managers leaving and serious concerns about the level of care.

“We have worked with the home to try and help them make improvements however these have not happened quickly enough or at the required standard.

“Understandably, we have very high standards that we expect from every care home that we commission and on this occasion, the quality from Amber Banks has fallen well below what families would expect.

“While nobody was at immediate risk in the home, we could not guarantee the safety of residents in the future and as such have terminated our contract with Amber Banks.

“The CQC has been fully informed and supports the council’s approach in enforcing the contractual requirements and we have worked with all residents and their families to smoothly and safely move them to an appropriate new setting.

“This news should not detract from the hard work that those homes, managers and staff members do every day to look after Blackpool’s vulnerable adults.”

Blackpool Council said of 26 residents at the home, 18 had been funded by the authority and found alternative placements.

The CQC report said: “The previous registered manager left two-years-ago and there have been seven managers in post since then.

“The new manager, who started in Decemeber 2015 told us they had sent an application to register with the CQC in February 2016.

“However our systems show we have not received this.”

The management team was singled out for criticism by the inspection team.

Their report said: “We saw there was a lack of clear leadership and cohesion within the management and staff team.”

Among the criticisms levelled at the home was a failure to properly check the background of employees.

“The management had not continuously followed safe recruitment processes to ensure suitable staff were employed,” said the inspector

“They failed to check people’s full employment histories, criminal records and references at all times.”

Risk assessment procedures at the home came in for heavy criticism with the management of medications and catering both areas of significant concern.

Inspectors found problems with health and safety, fire and infection control, with the report making clear the care provider had ‘not maintained living conditions that promoted people’s welfare and security.

Inspectors spoke to residents who were highly critical of the catering with records of their food and drink intake incomplete.

Care records were not always updated and care plans were not always revised after healthcare reviews.

Staff were described in the report as ‘kind’ and ‘caring’ but the report found ‘consistency of staff who understood each individual’s care requirement was not always in place.

The report said: “We observed staff spent minimal time engaging with people and did not maintain their dignity.”

Inspectors reviewed rotas and concluded there were not always enough staff to meet the needs of residents.

Amber Banks was given an overall rating of inadequate – with inadequate ratings for three of five key indicators.

The Gazette contacted Amber Banks and was given a telephone number for the responsible individual named in the report.

Despite repeated attempts to contact the individual nobody was available for comment.