Second Action for Care setting placed in special measures

A second Action for Care setting has been placed in special measures and told to make urgent improvements by the regulator.

A focused inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of Northfield House, a residential care home in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, was carried out due to concerns received about the management of risks and incidents, medicines and staffing issues.

As reported yesterday (Thursday 7 October), Action for Care’s Low Lane House has also been placed in special measures. The provider’s other settings are rated either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

Northfield House cares for up to eight young adults with a learning disability or autism.

Following the inspection in June and July, the overall rating has dropped from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’. It has also been rated ‘inadequate’ for being safe, effective and well-led. The service will now be kept under review.

‘When we inspected Northfield House, we were disappointed to find a service that has gone from providing good care, to a service where people are not being looked after in a safe environment that meets their needs,’ said Debbie Ivanova, CQC’s deputy chief inspector for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

‘We found that the building was dirty and poorly maintained, and it needed repairs and redecoration throughout the home.’

Inspectors found the provider failed to ensure safe medicines management. Tablets for one person could not be identified by inspectors or where they had come from or what they were for.

They also saw risks in relation to how people were given their food, with one individual not receiving one-to-one support when eating, which they should have had to manage their risk of choking.

They also concluded staff had not received appropriate training, supervision and support despite working in a challenging environment. Also, communication with external professionals and agencies was poor and they told the regulator they had concerns about the service.

‘During the inspection, the inspector observed the service showing signs of a closed culture which can lead to people not receiving safe and effective care,’ said Ivanova. ‘Families were being asked to escalate concerns on behalf of staff members. Northfield House cannot allow this to happen as this kind of culture is unacceptable.’

An Action for Care spokesperson said: ‘Since the inspection, there have been a number of positive changes to the service management structure including the registration of a new manager. Our systems of audit and monitoring have been further strengthened.

‘Significant improvements have been made which have been well received by service users, their families and involved professionals.

‘We are committed to working transparently with CQC and other agencies and hope to receive a prompt re-inspection by CQC within their timescale to evidence the current much improved position at the service to replace the now historical assessment by CQC of the position from three months ago.’