A Little Hulton care home has been put into special measures after a surprise inspection by the Care Quality Commission.
Health inspectors found multiple breaches of the Health and Social Care Act at the Kenyon Lodge nursing home on Manchester Road West.
A report published on 12 January detailed disturbingly poor levels of training, staffing and care.
It was rated ‘Inadequate’, the lowest possible grade, on each of the five key points: Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive and Well-led.
The home looks after up to 60 people over the age of 65 with a variety of mental and physical health conditions.
Inspectors made an unannounced inspection on the morning of 6 October 2015, finding there was no manager and not enough qualified staff on duty.
It ruled the care home had made eight breaches of the Health and Social Care Act in relation to person-centred care, dignity and respect, need for consent, safe care and treatment, meeting nutritional and hydration needs, good governance and staffing.
“During our inspection we found the service had failed to recognise and respond appropriately to a person who was clinically dehydrated,” said the report.
The CQC found that between July and August 2015, 23 patients had suffered “unwitnessed falls”.
During the inspection, patients were found to be wearing other people’s clothes that had got muddled up.
Care plans were disorganised and incomplete, said the CQC. In a number of cases paperwork had not been filled in and Post-it-notes had been stuck to files with a note stating ‘Needs filling in.’
It represents a downward turn for the Little Hulton care home.
Inspectors had previously visited the home on 19 and 20 May 2015, serving it with a ‘Requires Improvement’ notice after finding two breaches of the Health and Social Care Act over safe care and treatment and staffing.
Analysts brought forward a planned review into the service after concerns were raised by patients’ relatives.
Nurses told inspectors that training was poor and that low levels of staffing were putting patients at risk.
Of 24 people being cared for on the nursing unit a number suffered from dementia, but only 3% of staff had been trained how to deal with the condition.
A number of patients had “high needs” and needed regular input from a registered nurse.
Only one nurse was available for night shifts.
Over half of the patients needed help and support from at least two care assistants.
But night staffing was so low that when the two care assistants on duty were dealing with one patient, “no one else was available to care for all the other patients”.
One member of staff said to inspectors: “You simply cannot be in two places at once. If I’m busy providing nursing care to one resident, how can I possibly tend to the needs of others?
Another complained: “Too much is expected of the staff at night. As well as caring duties we are expected to do housekeeping and cleaning. It’s just impossible.”
A third said: “We have lots of poorly people living here. Things get difficult if there’s an emergency because the nurses time is taken up dealing with that and they other people don’t get the care they need.”
Training was found to be patchy and poor quality.
Most staff were directed to online learning and were expected to complete this in their own time.
One said: “My last supervision lasted less than 15 minutes. I was just basically asked to sign the form then return to work.”
Two staff members being employed as senior care assistants had no care qualifications at all.
One person who used the service said: “Some staff are good at their job but others don’t have a clue.
“It might be because of training but I think sometimes it’s because of their attitude. They have a ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude to their work, but the good ones are really good.”
One care assistant said: “We’re being expected to do all this without direction or training. I don’t know what management think we are”.
A senior member of staff told the inspectors: “I’m expected to do these supervision sessions but I’ve not had any training.”
A second said: “It’s a tick-box exercise because CQC told them to do it. Simple as that.”
The nursing home is run by Trees Park (Kenyon) Limited, trading as Abbey Healthcare.
London-headquartered Abbey run 15 nursing homes in England and Wales.
One other nursing home Abbey Healthcare runs in Cumbria, Kendal Care Home, was judged ‘Inadequate’ after a 29 December surprise inspection.
Five other homes: Aaron Court in Leicester; Apple Court in Kent; Barleycroft in Essex, Cromwell House in Cambridgeshire and Wrottersley Park in Wolverhampton were all judged as ‘Requires Improvement’ in their latest CQC inspections.
In a prepared statement Abbey Healthcare said: “Abbey Healthcare is committed to provide high quality care and the needs of our residents are paramount to us.
“Following the inspection from CQC in early October 2015, we have a new management team in place who are who are working to an action plan which is shared with stakeholders, in a an open and transparent way.
“A meeting has taken place between relatives, stakeholders and the provider to ensure everyone is kept informed.
“The home continues to care for residents in an environment that meets acceptable standards. The home has been operated by the same owner since opening in 1993.”
Kenyon Lodge will be kept under review for the next six months and if necessary the regulator could step in to force urgent action.