Truro autism care home placed in special measures for not being safe enough

The Nak Centre care home in Truro has been placed in special measures by the CQC
The Nak Centre care home in Truro has been placed in special measures by the CQC -Credit:The Nak Centre

A care home as been placed in special measures after being found understaffed and not safe enough. The Nak Centre at Sundial House received the worst rating possible from inspectors from the Cary Quality Commission (CQC) following an unannounced visit in November last year.

In their report published in February, the CQC inspectors found the Nak Centre to be below standards in terms of safeguarding and leadership which led to the overall 'inadequate' rating. The findings mean the care home - which was previously rated as 'good' - was downgraded and told to improve significantly over the coming months while CQC keeps the service under review.

In their report, the CQC inspectors said: "If the provider has not made enough improvement within this timeframe and there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall rating, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures. This will mean we will begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service. This will usually lead to cancellation of their registration or to varying the conditions the registration."

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The Nak Centre is a family-run care home set in its own garden in Coosebean, on the outskirts of Truro, which looks after people with autism and learning and physical disabilities. While the CQC inspectors found some positive points including good effectiveness and a good responsive service and caring staff, they also found that crucial staffing issues were hampering the service while the management team did not understand safeguarding issues well enough.

The report said: "The registered provider did not have effective safeguarding systems in place. The registered provider did not demonstrate a clear understanding of their responsibilities to report safeguarding concerns. Staff had limited understanding of what to do to help ensure people were protected from the risk of harm or abuse.

"People were not always supported by enough staff on duty which placed restrictions on their everyday lives. Staff supported people to have some choice and control in their everyday lives. Their ability to do this had been impacted by staffing shortages in the service which meant people were not always able to access the community or take part in activities that they enjoyed."

The inspectors said the longstanding business had been stuck in its ways which resulted in a detrimental closed culture.

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The report added: "The service did not have enough appropriately skilled staff to meet people's needs. The service was isolated and there was a risk of a closed culture developing. The service had fixed routines that were not flexible, for example drink and meal times routines. This was due to how the service had been organised, and perpetuated by the lack of staff available within the service. This meant people lacked opportunity to choose what they wanted to do and when.

"Staffing levels had impacted on the registered provider's availability to ensure that managerial tasks were completed. Feedback from staff and the review of records and care documentation evidenced there was poor oversight of the service which was affecting aspects of the operations of the service. Audits to oversee the service were not up to date and therefore were ineffective in identifying areas for improvement. The service had not sought the views and opinions of people using the service, staff and professionals.

"Staff team meetings and staff supervisions had not been held which meant that opportunities for staff and managers to discuss any issues or proposed changes within the service had been missed. The registered provider had not been open and transparent with people and relatives and commissioners in respect of the recent concerns at the service. The lack of opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback or raise concerns increased the risk of a closed culture developing."

It was not all negative for The Nak Centre, with CQC inspectors noting that infection control procedures and measures were in place to protect people from infection control risks associated with Covid, people live in a safe and well-maintained environment while staff also supported people with their medicines and worked with health professionals to achieve good health outcomes."

We have asked The Nak Centre for a comment about the CQC findings and how it intends to make the necessary improvements.