South Woodford care home with contamination risks requires improvement

A Redbridge care home has been told it needs to improve following concerns being raised over a number of safeguarding issues at the premises, including a potential contamination risk of the drinking water supply.

Cleveland House in South Woodford is a facility providing care and accommodation for up to 11 people with mental health needs, learning disabilities or autism. At the time of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in October nine people were living at the service.

During their visits, CQC inspectors assessed the two key areas of ‘safe’ and ‘well led’. Both received the rating of ‘requires improvement’.

The report summarised that this was due to a number of contributing factors. It said: “Risk assessments were not always completed fully meaning staff did not always have the correct information on how to deliver safe care.”

In addition, it was noted that governance systems did not always work effectively, and medicines were not consistently stored or maintained properly. Service provider Achieve Together Limited, which specialises in learning disability care, has identified several health and safety risks.

Upon arrival at the care home, inspectors found that the room in which most medicines were stored had a temperature reading of 32 degrees centigrade. Although the registered manager immediately took steps to mitigate this by placing ice packs in the metal cabinet and a fan within the room, as well as initiating controlled temperature checks, most medicines should be kept at temperatures under 25 or 30 degrees to maintain their potency.

Various staff members administering residents’ medications were found to not be following prescription guidance. Some pain relief medicines were discovered to be out of stock, and one person was being administered treatments at more regular intervals than necessary.

Two residents were observed walking around the service without footwear, and there was a recorded risk of them hurting themselves with sharp objects. Health and safety tests which were due to be held monthly had last been completed in September 2022.

It was determined that the provider had failed to ensure residents had access to an unlimited supply of drinking water at all times. A shower head left submerged below the water line in a bathtub posed the risk of creating a backflow, which could lead to the contamination of drinking water on the premises.

Interactions between staff members and residents could have also been more positive. One person was observed to have been left to sleep on a chair in the dining area, with no one attending to their needs should they have woken up. Ultimately, CQC stated that “the provider did not have effective systems to assess, monitor and improve the quality and safety of the service”.

However, it was noted that Cleveland House promoted a “positive and open culture”, and that “people were respected and treated equally regardless of their abilities, lifestyle and beliefs”.

Achieve Together Limited was contacted for comment.

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Emma Doyle

Local Democracy Reporter