Wickford care home rated inadequate after inspection finds residents at risk of choking

A care home where people were at risk of choking because of a lack of staff guidance has been rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC found staff had not been given enough guidance to reduce the risks to residents at The Grange in Wickford in an inspection between August 24-25 2021.

According to the report, safeguarding concerns had been reported and investigated, but actions had not been implemented to ensure these were fully addressed.

The care home, which cares for up to 43 people aged over 65, some with dementia, physical disabilities or sensory impairments, regularly employs agency staff to make up staff shortages, according to the inspection report published on October 28.

But a lack of care planning and risk assessments meant they did not have clear guidance to support residents they did not know.

A spokesperson for Runwood Homes said: “The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our number one priority.

“We can confirm The Grange Care Home was undergoing a management change at the time of the CQC inspection and had already identified key actions which have since been communicated to both CQC and the Local Authority and fully addressed.

“The service is rated Good in Caring, Effective and Responsive and has already addressed the issues highlighted by CQC in the midst of a social care staffing crisis.

“The new manager and her team have worked incredibly hard, and we are ready for re-inspection where we are very confident the home will return to an overall Good rating”

In the previous report published in October 2018, the care home received a Good rating.

But according to the most recent report, inspectors observed a person choking during their lunch and found 33 incidents of another becoming aggressive towards staff between May-August 2021. A further person fell five times in the same time period.

The report said there was no information available for staff on how to support or manage the residents and therefore mitigate the risks.

A section of the report read: “People’s risks had not been clearly identified and recorded. 

“People were at risk of falling, harm from others and choking because staff were not given sufficient guidance to reduce the risk. This was particularly important because of the use of agency staff.

“Medicines were not always managed safely, and people did not always receive their medicines as prescribed. Safeguarding concerns had been reported and investigated however, actions and lessons learned had not been implemented to ensure the concerns were fully addressed.

“Staffing levels at the service were not adequate. The provider needs to ensure there are always enough staff available to support people.”

The report also found that mental capacity assessments had not been completed to establish resident’s capacity to agree to being restrained by medical equipment.

People had also missed taking their medicines for several days, because medicines were sometimes unavailable and staff had not made enough attempts to get new supplies.

One staff member told inspectors: “There aren’t enough of us. Carers are making all the beds, making all the breakfasts as well as getting everyone up. We only get one and a half hours to do this”.

Another said: “On four occasions it’s been just me and an agency staff member.”

The report also says the provider sent an action plan immediately after the inspection saying how they were going to address the concerns.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter