Inspectors put 'inadequate' Stoke-on-Trent care home in 'special measures'

202 Weston Road care home -Credit:Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel
202 Weston Road care home -Credit:Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel

A Stoke-on-Trent care home has apologised to its residents and their families after being placed in 'special measures' following a damning inspection report. A string of serious failings were uncovered by inspectors when they visited 202 Weston Road residential care home in Meir.

As a result of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection, which took place over two separate days back in January, the home has been rated 'inadequate'. Weston Road, which caters for people who have learning disabilities and autism, is now in special measures and must produce an action plan ahead of being re-inspected within six months.

The recently-published CQC report revealed that mould was discovered in one bedroom, parts of the home "had strong malodours and cleaning schedules were not regularly completed", radiator covers were not in place putting people at risk of harm, and a recent fire evacuation form which identified required improvements had "no detail2 of how those would be achieved.

Other serious issues uncovered included staff "not always accurately recording accidents and incidents" as well as them not being inputted to the system, resulting in some cases potentially not being reviewed "to ensure required action was taken". The report also revealed: "Staff informed us of one person's identified health condition, however, there was no risk assessment or guidance available for staff to follow to safely support this person.

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"We requested this be addressed as a matter of urgency, and the provider acted to ensure a risk assessment was in place. However, following our inspection we were notified by the provider of an incident involving this specific healthcare need, and staff did not follow the protocol in place. This placed the person at risk of harm."

The home had previously been rated 'good' following an inspection back in 2019. But the CQC said its latest inspection "was prompted in part due to concerns received about people's safety, staff training and oversight".

The report states: "A decision was made for us to inspect and examine those risks. We undertook a focused inspection to review the key questions of safe, effective, and well-led only. For those key questions not inspected, we used the ratings awarded at the last inspection to calculate the overall rating.

"We have identified breaches in relation to safe care and treatment, the premises and equipment, need for consent, person-centred care and good governance. The overall rating for this service is 'Inadequate' and the service is therefore in 'special measures'. This means we will keep the service under review and, if we do not propose to cancel the provider's registration, we will re-inspect within 6 months to check for significant improvements."

Summarising the inspectors' findings, the report added: "The provider did not always assess risks or take action to mitigate identified risks to ensure people were safe. People were not always safeguarded from abuse or avoidable harm. People were not always supported to receive their medicines in a safe way. The service did not always make sure staff had the skills, knowledge and experience to deliver effective care and support.

"People were not always protected from the risk of infection as staff were not consistently following safe infection prevention and control practices. People's care and support was not always delivered in line with current standards and people did not always achieve effective outcomes.

"The provider did not always learn lessons when things had gone wrong. People's individual needs were not always met by the adaptation, design and decoration of the premises. The provider did not have an effective management structure. The provider did not always monitor the quality of care provided in order to drive improvements or create a learning culture at the service, so people's care was not improved."

A Lifeways spokesperson said: "The safety and wellbeing of the people we support is our highest priority. We sincerely regret the findings of the CQC’s recent inspection of Weston Road, which was not fully consistent with the high standards we expect at Lifeways. We have apologised to the people we support and their families.

"Our internal governance systems had put in place an improvement plan prior to the CQC inspection and we have been working diligently, at pace, and in partnership with Weston Road, the Local Authority and the CQC to implement the identified improvements. We responded immediately to the environmental concerns on the day of the inspection.

"Further improvements include new leadership at the service, a review of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) applications, strengthening of medication procedures, and an overall ongoing upgrade to the service environment. We are confident that people we support and their families are already seeing a swift return to the highest standards of care."

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